Loudoun County Threatens To Suspend Maskless Students

Gov. Glenn Youngkin's executive order lets parents decide whether to mask kids

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January 31, 2022

Principals in one Virginia school district threatened on Monday to suspend students who come to school without masks.

Officials at several Loudoun County schools said that, starting Wednesday, they will suspend students who do not wear masks, ABC 7 reported. It is unclear whether this is a district-wide order or whether the principals are acting independently. The district did not respond to a Washington Free Beacon inquiry.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin's (R.) executive order giving parents the right to decide whether to send their kids to school with masks took effect on Jan. 24. But in a "warning memo" obtained by the Free Beacon, Potomac Falls High School principal Brandon Wolfe says that "masks are not optional for any individual who enters a [Loudoun County Public Schools] campus building."

Loudoun schools are closed Monday and Tuesday. But several students, including Potomac Falls senior Nicholas Sanchez, were informed last week that they would be suspended starting Feb. 2 if they refuse to wear masks.

Sanchez was one of many maskless Loudoun County students who spent last week isolated from his peers. The district sequestered students who chose to forgo masks in gymnasiums and auditoriums, where they attended class virtually.

Youngkin's Jan. 14 order set off school officials in several of the commonwealth's liberal enclaves. Administrators announced within hours that they planned to maintain their mask mandates. Seven districts last week filed suit against the order, saying it "is in conflict with the Constitution and state law." The governor told students to listen to their principals while the order works its way through the courts.

The Virginia Supreme Court will soon decide whether Youngkin's order supersedes a law passed last year that forces districts to abide by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for coronavirus mitigation.

Officials in Loudoun schools aren't the only ones who say they'll suspend students who continue to go maskless at school. Frederick County Public Schools also threatened students with suspensions last week, though one parent told the Free Beacon that the threat is a "scare tactic" to force students to obey the mask mandate.