Virginia’s Supreme Court rejected a challenge from Chesapeake parents against Glenn Youngkin’s executive order to allow parents to opt-out of their children wearing masks in school in a move Attorney General Jason Miyares called “a win for Virginia families.”
Miyares issued a written statement following the ruling.
“Today, the Supreme Court of Virginia rejected a challenge out of the City of Chesapeake to Governor Youngkin’s Executive Order Number 2. The Governor and I are pleased with today’s ruling. At the beginning of this pandemic, Governor Northam used his broad emergency powers to close places of worship, private businesses, and schools and impose a statewide mask mandate,” Miyares wrote.
“Nearly two years later, we have better risk mitigation strategies and vaccines, and we know much more about the efficacy of requiring children to wear masks all day. We agree with the Court’s decision and will continue to defend the Executive Order. This is a victory for Virginia families,” he added.
The Supreme Court of Virginia has rejected a challenge out of Chesapeake to @GovernorVA's EO2.
This is a win for Virginia families. https://t.co/OtEFdqkudJ
— Jason Miyares (@JasonMiyaresVA) February 7, 2022
The dismissal noted parents had challenged “the provisions of Governor Glenn A. Youngkin’s Executive Order Two and Order of Public Health Emergency One (collectively, ‘EO 2’) that permit parents to exempt their children from school masking requirements,” according to the order.
The state’s Supreme Court justices wrote “we deny petitioners’ motion to amend, and we dismiss the petition because the relief requested does not lie against any of the respondents.”
The ruling follows Youngkin’s decision last week to join a parent lawsuit against Loudoun County schools over masks. As The Daily Wire reported:
Virginia’s governor, attorney general, and superintendent of public instruction have asked a court to let them become plaintiffs in a lawsuit brought by parents against the Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS), lending new legal firepower to a group of parents’ quest to unmask their children.
After taking office last month, Gov. Glenn Youngkin issued an executive order saying that parents had the right to choose whether their children must wear masks at school or not. Liberal jurisdictions refused to follow it, claiming they did not have to follow executive orders.
Attorney General Jason Miyares also released a statement regarding the lawsuit in support of parental rights.
.@GovernorVA and I are joining Loudoun County parents in their lawsuit against the School Board for ignoring Executive Order Two & denying an "opt out" option for parents. https://t.co/D7tG3qmYgD
— Jason Miyares (@JasonMiyaresVA) February 2, 2022
“When the pandemic started, Governor Northam used his emergency powers to close down places of worship, private businesses, and schools and impose a universal mask mandate. Nearly two years later, Governor 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,” he wrote.
In addition to K-12th grade schools, three large Virginia universities have recently ended their COVID-19 vaccine mandate following a new legal opinion by Miyares.
Miyares released the opinion on January 26 that stated Virginia university campuses cannot require the mandate unless it is listed among required immunizations for higher education institutions.
The attorney general wrote that “as recognized in the prior opinion, ‘[t]here is no question that the General Assembly could enact a statute requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for in-person school attendance,’” according to a statement from Miyares’ office.
“As of this writing, it has not done so. Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the General Assembly has amended other statutes to address pandemic-related issues,” the statement added.