New Virginia law makes masking in schools optional, but still required on school buses

According to a new state law, all Virginia students will soon have the option to not wear a mask in school, but they will still be required when riding a school bus.

A federal mask requirement for public transportation is still in place, which means all children and adults still have to mask up.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed the bill into law on Wednesday after the state legislature accepted his amendments to make the law effective March 1, to allow a preparation period for school districts.

“Today, we are reestablishing and restoring our power back to parents,” Youngkin said on Wednesday. “We are also reestablishing our expectations that we will get back to normal, and this is the path.”

The new law also restricts the ability of school districts to close schools and switch to remote instruction, except under specific circumstances.

Fairfax and Arlington Counties said they would drop their mask mandates and follow the new state law beginning March 1st. In Prince William County, schools will no longer require students to mask up starting Tuesday.

Loudoun County became the first school system to roll back restrictions, announcing masks would become an option in school beginning Feb. 22. A ruling last week by Circuit Court Judge James Fisher immediately barred the county’s public school system from enforcing its mask mandate.

Read More: Youngkin recently asked Virginians to respect individual masking decisions. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to revise its masking guidance soon.

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