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Virginia Republicans Call On Democratic Gov. To Remove Mask Mandate In Schools
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 3: Rep.-elect Bob Good (R-VA) arrives on the House floor in the Capitol before members of the 117th Congress are sworn in on January 3, 2021 in Washington, DC. Both chambers are holding rare Sunday sessions to open the new Congress on January 3 as the Constitution requires.
Bill Clark – Pool/Getty Images

A group of Republican congressmen penned a letter to Virginia’s Democratic Governor Ralph Northam, insisting that he reconsider coronavirus guidance requiring masks in K-12 schools.

On May 14, Northam issued an executive order that lifted the mask mandate in the state but maintained that students and teachers wear face masks on school property. Rep. Bob Good (R-VA) led a group of Virginia Republicans in pushing back against the mandate. 

“Parents, not the government, should decide if their child wears a mask in the classroom,” Good said. “Our children have suffered enough, it’s time to restore common sense in our classrooms.”

In the letter, Republicans cited studies that show transmission via children is extremely rare. One study out of Germany concluded that staff-to-staff transmission is the most common and is far more common than student-to-staff, staff-to-student, or student-to-student transmission.  

“Research has consistently shown that children are at low risk for contracting COVID-19, or having severe cases if they do become infected with the virus,” the letter reads. “Additionally, schools have not been considered a significant contributor to community transmission.” 

The letter insists that students are not the problem and reminds Northam that teachers and children aged 12-15 can get the vaccine. 

“Virginia schools can still mitigate the spread of COVID-19 without masking children,” the letter reads. 

The letter was signed by Republican Reps. Robert Wittman, H. Morgan Griffith, and Ben Cline. 

On May 13, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidelines to remove the mask mandate for fully vaccinated people. The update tells fully vaccinated people that they no longer need to “wear a mask or physical distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.” 

Following the guidance shift, states such as Utah and Texas have taken it upon themselves to ban masking in public schools. On May 18, Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order that will ban local governments and schools from requiring face masks. The next day, legislators in Utah passed a similar bill. 

The Daily Wire reported

Legislators in Utah passed a measure during a special session on Wednesday that prohibits public schools and universities from enforcing mask mandates in the coming school year. 

According to The Associated Press, Republican Representative Val Peterson sponsored the bill. Peterson “said county officials would still be able to invoke mask orders in consultation with local health officials in schools that have the coronavirus outbreaks. The legislation only applies to COVID-19 and would not prevent people from wearing face coverings,” per the AP.

Young students are pleading for the removal of mask mandates as well. A 10-year-old boy in Florida gave an impassioned speech to his school board begging the council to end the district’s in-school mask mandate. He called the mandate — and the teachers who refuse to follow it — an example of “hypocrisy.” 

Related: Watch: 10-Year-Old Boy Obliterates School Board’s Mask Mandate

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