Mandatory masking reallowed in Virginia following judge’s preliminary injunction

On March 23rd, Judge Norman Moon of the Western District of Virginia issued a preliminary injunction which granted 12 families of immunocompromised, Virginia students the right to request their schools mandate masking. 

The specifics of this ruling can be found in a 56 page memorandum released by Judge Moon.

This is the latest ruling following a lawsuit against the State of Virginia and some of its officials filed by the ACLU of Virginia on behalf of the students and their parents following the actions of the state’s new, Republican government.

On January 15th, the first day Governor Youngkin took office, he signed Executive Order 2 (E.O.2) which gave Virginia parents the liberty to opt their children out of any mask mandate imposed by their state’s schools. In addition, the Virginia legislature passed S.B. 739, a law codifying the Governor’s executive order, and it was signed into law by the Governor in mid-February. 

The crux of the case brought forward was whether or not the Plaintiffs showed there was “‘certainly impending,’ or there is a ‘substantial risk’ that harm will occur.” The testimonies of the Plaintiff’s physicians were key in convincing the court that there was “substantial risk” if the immunocompromised students attended in-person class without a mask mandate in effect.

However, Judge Moon also recognized that E.O. 2 and S.B. 739 were the law of the land and that his preliminary injunction only applied to the schools the Plaintiffs attended. 

This resulted in Virginia’s Attorney General, Jason Miyares, a defendant in the case, to at least claim partial victory in a later statement, “Today’s ruling affirms that Governor Youngkin’s Executive Order 2 and Senate Bill 739 is the law of Virginia and parents have the right to make choices for their children.”

The ACLU of Virginia expressed its support for maintaining the mask mandates in a tweet, “For now, we are glad the court agreed: No student should have to risk their lives to go to school.”




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