Students with disabilities win dispute over masks in Va. public schools

Parents of students with disabilities in Virginia public schools have won a major legal dispute, winning the right to require mask-wearing by teachers and students to help protect their children against COVID-19.

One of Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s first acts was to stop mandatory mask wearing in public schools, signing executive order number two in January that left the decision of masking in the hands of parents.

But parents of disabled kids immediately filed a federal lawsuit, arguing that accommodating mask-wearing at school is a right covered by federal disability laws.

The state and the parents reached a settlement Monday, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, in which the state agreed that requiring public school teachers and students to wear masks is a reasonable modification, under the executive order, for students with disabilities who request the masking.

The settlement also requires the state’s Department of Education to send guidance to school districts in line with the settlement.

WTOP has reached out to Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s office and the office of state attorney general Jason Miyares for comment. A spokesperson for Youngkin’s office noted that this was a fair settlement for all.

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Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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