Va. attorney general files motion to dismiss lawsuit against order ending mask mandate

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares filed a motion with the Supreme Court of Virginia Thursday to dismiss a lawsuit aimed at blocking Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s executive order ending mask mandates in schools.

In a statement, Miyares said he moves to dismiss the petition to restore parents’ authority to make “the best decision for their children.”

“Tonight, we asked the Supreme Court of Virginia to protect the fundamental rights of parents to direct the upbringing, care, and education of their children,” Miyares said. “Governor Youngkin had every power to issue the executive order, and with our filing, we again affirm that parents matter.”

A group of 13 parents with children in Chesapeake Public Schools sued Youngkin and members of his administration Tuesday, arguing that the executive order violates state law.

Last year, the Virginia General Assembly passed a law stating that school systems must “offer and prioritize in-person instruction,” while adhering to “mitigation procedures, like mask-wearing, to the extent practicable as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.”

“Petitioners have no adequate remedy at law and no time to spare. They and their children are likely to suffer irreparable harm and damage if this Court declines to grant immediate relief,” the parents wrote in their petition.

A number of other Virginia school systems, such as Fairfax, Arlington and Alexandria have already stated their intent to keep mask mandates in place in their schools. Spotsylvania and Culpeper school systems chose to make masks optional starting Monday, when the executive order takes effect. Recently, the Stafford County school board voted to keep its mask mandate with no option of opting out after a 5-2 vote.

The Associated Press contributed to this story. 

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Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

José Umaña

José Umaña is a digital editor for WTOP. He’s been working as a journalist for almost a decade, covering local news, education and sports. His work has appeared in The Prince George’s Sentinel, The Montgomery Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, PressBox and The Diamondback.

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