Governor gets bill to end school mask mandates
RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - The Virginia House of Delegates Monday passed Senate Bill 739 on a party-line vote, 52-48, after it passed the Senate last week, with the goal of ending mask mandates in every Virginia public K-12 school. The bill is now headed to Governor Glenn Youngkin, who has indicated he will add an emergency clause to make the bill effective immediately.
The General Assembly will consider any recommendations later this week.
“What our children have had to endure over the last two years will impact them for years to come,” said Speaker Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah. “It’s time we end the insanity and let our kids be kids again. Virginia is behind the curve for states ending masking mandates and I’m proud of the legislature for getting this done quickly. Our kids can’t wait.”
“Government overreaction to this pandemic has been devastating to our children,” said House Education Committee Chairman Glenn Davis, R-Virginia Beach. “As state after state rolls back mask mandates, too many Virginia students have been left behind. Our Commonwealth has reopened. It’s time to let our children breathe freely again.”
Democrats on the House Education Committee who voted against the bill were outnumbered by Republicans, as some parents and teachers also opposed the bill.
“Every district knows what their COVID rates are,” said Kathy Beery, President of the Harrisonburg Education Association. “And they should be able to decide what is safe for their school.”
“I don’t want to wear masks forever. And I know we have to learn to live with the virus,” said Virginia Beach parent Lindsey Nathaniel, “but we need to do it safely.”
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