LCPS Overrules Youngkin’s Mask Lift: What Do You Think?

After Governor Glenn Youngkin signed an executive order allowing masks to be optional at schools, LCPS responds in an opposite manner. Students also weigh in their opinions after this recent controversy.

LCPS Overrules Youngkin’s Mask Lift: What Do You Think?

By: Laila Ali

On January 15, Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin was sworn in as Virginia’s 74th Governor. Less than a week later, he signed an executive order (that will go into effect January 24) that allowed parents to choose whether or not their children would wear masks to school. 

Some districts swiftly implemented this rule into their own school systems, but others here in Northern Virginia had other ideas. Some parents in Chesapeake County took legal action against the mandate lift. The districts of Richmond, Fairfax, Arlington, and Alexandria city all opted out immediately, with Richmond superintendent Jason Kamras vowing that “We will fight it [Mask Lift] to the end.”

Loudoun County’s decision took a bit longer, upon hearing about this new order, interim Superintendent, Scott Ziegler, stated that the county would wait until the order took effect and would “offer more guidance” as the week went on. He stayed true to this statement because on January 18, the LCPS school board voted 8-1 in favor of keeping the mandate. Even before the vote was finalized, some team sports and activities such as track and theater had also decided to keep their face coverings no matter what the condition. 

With this interesting change, I had 9 random Tuscarora students take a poll to see where their views lie. I noticed that even though there were some that were grateful for the school-board vote, others didn’t even care for the masks. The poll was 77.8% for masks and 22.2% against.

Ayrica Wang, a Junior, didn’t think that removing the mask mandate was a smart move; ”… It’s absurd how there has been a discussion about lifting the mandate at this time as there’s even a new variant of COVID. Keeping the mask mandate is necessary and should not be lifted until it’s proven COVID is no longer a threat to our safety.” 

Sophomore Alex Leoni had a similar view; “…You can’t just be thinking about yourself during this pandemic when millions of lives have been lost. We need to be responsible and think about the people who will not be able to survive this virus. Wearing your mask isn’t about you, it’s about protecting others around you. If you choose not to wear one at school and in other crowded places, I see you as selfish.”

Other students didn’t exactly see eye to eye, Sophomore Luke Getz just said that he didn’t “feel like wearing a mask.” Fellow Sophomore Ryan Lunt also believed that there is no longer a need for the mandate; “We have had to wear masks for 2 years now, COVID has only gotten works and it seems to be masks are ineffective. If you’re vaccinated you shouldn’t have to wear a mask, what’s the point of being vaccinated when you can still catch it and spread it just as well as if you weren’t vaccinated.”

For the time being, it is unsure whether or not Governor Youngkin will be able to have these counties change their rules. Until then, Loudoun County Public Schools and most of their neighboring school districts will keep their mask mandates.