Parents Right to Choose (Masks): Honor Virginia EO Number 2 (2022)
We, the below signed, ask that the Newport News School Board honor Governor Glenn Youngkin’s Executive Order Number Two (2022) and legal authority which states,
“The parents of any child enrolled in a elementary or secondary school or a school based early childcare and educational program may elect for their children not to be subject to any mask mandate in effect at the child’s school or educational program”
The decision to follow the Governor’s Executive Order Number Two also keeps NNPS in accordance with § 1-240.1 of the Code of Virginia, that
“a parent has a fundamental right to make decisions concerning the upbringing, education, and care of the parent’s child.”
In regards to VA SB1303:
“The bill requires each school board to provide such in-person instruction in a manner in which it adheres, to the maximum extent practicable, to any currently applicable mitigation strategies for early childhood care and education programs and elementary and secondary schools to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 that have been provided by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
We believe that it is not practicable to continue to mask children for 8 hours a day when the FDA itself states,
“A face mask is a product that covers the wearer’s nose and mouth. Face masks are…not personal protective equipment. Face masks may or may not meet any fluid barrier or filtration efficiency levels.”
Combined with the fact that pre-pandemic data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) shows a consistent drop in performance on state reading tests, it is not practicable to continue to mandate a face mask that reduces the ability of students and teachers to communicate. This psychological stressor for children disrupts learning by: causing children to lose the experience of mimicking expressions, an essential tool of nonverbal communication; and negatively impacting bonding between teachers and students.
Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control currently only RECOMMENDS masks for students per the Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools updated January 13, 2022.
“CDC recommends universal indoor masking by all* students (ages 2 years and older), staff, teachers, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.”
With that, we respectfully ask that the Newport News School Board honor Governor Glenn Youngkin’s Executive Order Number Two (2022) and legal authority.
As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Now, more than ever, is that time.