News & Politics

Northern Virginia School Districts to Governor: We’ll Keep Masks On, Thanks

Photograph by Drazen Zigic via iStock/Getty Images Plus.

School systems in  Northern Virginia say they’ll continue to require masks despite an order by newly inaugurated Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin that rescinds the state’s mask mandate in public schools beginning on January 24.

“Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) will continue to abide by the health and safety guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Alexandria Health Department (AHD) and continue to require all individuals to wear masks that cover the nose and mouth in ACPS schools, facilities and buses,” Alexandria schools superintendent Gregory C. Hutchings, Jr., told parents in an email Sunday. Indeed, the system has ordered KN95 masks for students to wear, he wrote. Arlington’s school system said in a statement that it “implemented our mask requirement this school year prior to Governor Northam’s K-12 mask mandate, and we will continue to make decisions that prioritize the health, safety and wellbeing of our students and staff, following the guidance of local and national health professionals.” Fairfax said it would review Youngkin’s order but “continues to require universal mask wearing in alignment with CDC guidance.” Loudoun County, too, said it would review Youngkin’s order, but  that masks are still required.

One parent of children in Arlington public schools, White House press secretary Jen Psaki, thanked the county schools for flouting Youngkin’s order:

Youngkin’s son Thomas, who was turned away from voting in Fairfax County last year because he was underage, attends the swanky Maryland private school Georgetown Prep, which, Newsweek reports, still requires students to wear masks.

Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.