Virginia AG Joins Loudoun Country Parents' Mask Mandate Lawsuit Virginia Republican Attorney General Jason Miyares. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
By Eric Mack | Thursday, 03 February 2022 01:15 PM
Virginia's new Attorney General Jason Miyares is joining the lawsuit of Loudoun County parents against the school board for refusing to permit an opt-out of school mask mandates, as outlined in GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin's executive order.
"When the pandemic started, Gov. [Ralph] Northam used his emergency powers to close down places of worship, private businesses, and schools and impose a universal mask mandate," Miyares wrote in a statement announcing his joining the lawsuit against the Loudoun County School Board. "Nearly two years later, Gov. Youngkin is using those same emergency powers to adapt to our current phase in the same pandemic, by giving parents the ability to opt out of a school mask mandate.
"We have always expected this to be settled in the courts and have complete faith in the legal process. In the meantime, we encourage parents to listen to their school principal until this is resolved in the courts."
The motion to join the parents' lawsuit was also filed on behalf of Gov. Youngkin and Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow.
The Loudoun County parents are suing their school board for ignoring the executive order and preventing an "opt out" option for mask mandates.
"After nearly two years in this pandemic, we have better risk mitigation strategies and vaccines, and we know much more about the efficacy of requiring children to wear masks all day," the attorney general wrote in the press release.
"Parents know what is best for their children and should be able to decide if their children wear a mask for eight hours a day."
The motion seeks a temporary injunction and a temporary restraining order on the Loudoun County School Board imposing a mask mandate in schools, and barring it from threatening to suspend students that attempt to attend classes without wearing a mask.
School boards are arguing Youngkin's executive order is at conflict with a 2021 law passed in Virginia, which says each Virginia school board is required to offer in-person instruction that adheres "to the maximum extent practicable" to COVID-19 mitigation guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC currently recommends universal masking by anyone 2 and older, regardless of vaccination status.