65 F
Tysons
Wednesday, September 28, 2022

student masking

Editor’s Notebook: Parents, time to do your jobs

Montgomery County (Md.) earlier this week became the latest, if not quite the last, jurisdiction across the, cough, "DMV" to lift its indoor mask mandate in schools. Interestingly, based on the media coverage, many of those who lined up to...

APS tosses in towel on its mask mandate (for now)

After months of refusing even to consider loosening mask mandates in its facilities, the leadership of Arlington Public Schools on Feb. 28 threw in the towel – at least for the time being. The trigger was the Feb. 25 reversal...

Editor’s Notebook: Masking battle takes another twist

Gonna be an interesting day this last day of February, as both Arlington Public Schools and Fairfax County Public Schools have promised to provide an update on their masking rules in the wake of Friday's Centers for Disease Control...

APS to provide updates to mask policy Monday

With the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention having amended its guidance on masking in indoor areas -- including school facilities -- Arlington Public Schools plans to try and provide more clarity on its policy. "We are reviewing the...

CDC reclassifies local area as low-risk for COVID impacts

With the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday again changing how it classifies the impact of COVID on individual communities, most of Northern Virginia now sits in the low-risk category. Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties...

School system mulls how far it will press masking issue

Exactly how hard Arlington school leaders plan to push back against a new state law mandating mask freedom in public schools remains to be seen, but it doesn’t appear the school system plans to acquiesce happily. The new state law...

Attorney general expects school systems to fully comply with new mask law

School-system leaders in Northern Virginia and across the commonwealth considering defiance against a new state law on student masking can expect a swift response from the commonwealth’s chief legal enforcer. “We’re going to sit back, we’re going to observe,” state...

Local delegates oppose education bill, but it is headed to Youngkin

As had their state Senate colleagues the preceding week, members of Arlington’s delegation to the House of Delegates were unanimous in their opposition to legislation ending mask mandates on students in Virginia’s public-education system. But the opposition did nothing to...

Editor’s Notebook: Cracks in the blue wall against masking

The Falls Church News-Press had coverage this week that, to be honest, was hard to noodle through, but appeared to say that, as of this coming Monday, students in that community's school system nestled between Arlington and Fairfax would...

UPDATE: Arlington senators split on mask-freedom measure

Legislation that would put an end to mandatory student masking at all Virginia public schools received a mixed response from the three members of the Arlington delegation to the state Senate. Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax-Arlington) on Jan. 8 voted to support incorporating the concept into existing legislation, while Sens. Barbara Favola (D-Arlington-Fairfax-Loudoun) and Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria-Arlington-Fairfax) opposed it. The wording, which passed the state Senate on a lopsided 29-9 vote Feb. 8, was patroned by Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax-Vienna), a vocal critic of mandatory masking policies. The measure unmasked splits within the Senate Democratic caucus, with 10 supporting the bill, nine opposing it and two not voting. All 19 Republicans supported the measure. A day later, the state Senate passed the broader bill, patroned by Republican Dr. Siobhan Dunnavant, which also included language mandating that public schools retain an in-person option even if COVID spikes again. The full bill passed the Senate 21-17, with a few Democrats, including Petersen (but not Howell), joining with Republicans. The bill moves on to the Republican-controlled House of Delegates, which seems destined to approve it. The bill, SB 739, has the support of the Youngkin administration. Whether the measure would have any practical effect, or is merely political theater, is an open question. Backers have devised a plan that would, after expected passage by the House of Delegates, have Gov. Youngkin propose an amendment to treat the bill as an emergency measure. Unlike legislation that originates in the General Assembly, which requires a supermajority of both houses, an amendment from the governor would only require majority votes, Republicans say. That would allow the measure to go into effect immediately, if at least one of the Democrats in the Senate went along. A coalition of Northern Virginia school districts has sued the Youngkin administration, arguing that the new governor’s executive order requiring a mask-optional policy for all Virginia school districts violates their rights. The measure, now working its way up the judicial system, likely will be decided by the Virginia Supreme Court – unless the school districts throw in the towel first. Petersen is something of a renegade Democrat, and had promised at the start of the 2022 General Assembly session that if local school districts did not end their mask mandates – which he believes are ineffective and do more harm than good – he would force the issue. Which he then proceeded to do, but only after first ripping into outgoing Fairfax Superintendent Scott Brabrand in a letter castigating that district’s mandatory-masking policy. The fact that more than half the Senate Democrats voting opted to support Petersen’s position suggests how quickly the political winds on masking appear to be changing across the nation. A number of Democratic-dominated states are beginning to eliminate their own mask mandates, an effort that seems likely to be driven as much by polling data as by major changes in public health.
- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest News

Weather concerns nix weekend’s MPAartfest

McLean Project for the Arts has announced cancellation of its Oct. 2 MPAartfest due to pending weather issues. "The decision...
- Advertisement -spot_img