On Monday, Feb. 7, the Supreme Court of Virginia dismissed a case against Gov. Glenn Youngkin relating to Executive Order No. 2. A news release from Botetourt County Public Schools said, that although the court did not rule on the constitutionality or legality of this order, the court did offer an important and helpful interpretation of SB1303:
“By allowing school boards to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended COVID-19 mitigation strategies “to the maximum extent practicable,” SB1303 necessarily gives the boards a degree of discretion to modify or even forgo those strategies as they deem appropriate for their individual circumstances. With respect to implementing policies on student masking, that discretion persists even if EO 2’s masking exemption provisions are unlawful.”
The news release continued, “In light of this clarification and declining positive cases of COVID-19 in our community, it is the will of the Botetourt County School Board to implement Executive Order No. 2, allowing parents to determine whether their child wears a mask while at school, effective Wednesday, February 9, 2022. Wearing masks while indoors, though no longer required, is still encouraged as an effective component of our layered mitigation strategies. Documents that reflect these changes will be available on our COVID Information website.
“This decision does not apply to faculty and staff, and masks will still be required for all employees while inside all K-12 school buildings,” the release said.
“Federal mandate still requires students to wear masks while accessing transportation provided by the division, regardless of vaccination status or masking choice while at school. Additionally, Botetourt County Public Schools will continue to permit those self-identified as a close contact to a COVID-19 positive individual to return to school on day 6 if they remain symptom-free during days 1-5 of the quarantine period, as long as the individual can consistently and correctly wear a mask through day 10 when they return to school. Those who cannot consistently or correctly wear a mask for any reason will be required to stay at home for the full 10 days following an exposure,” the news released concluded.