LOUDOUN COUNTY, VA — A group of parents are suing the Loudoun County School Board, according to court records. The suit, which was filed in Loudoun County Circuit Court on Tuesday, claims that the school board is "ignoring the rights of Virginia parents" by upholding their mask mandate.
Three people, Kristen Barnett, Heather Yescavage, and Colin Doniger, are listed as plaintiffs in the case. WTOP reported that each of the plaintiffs have children who attend a Loudoun County elementary school.
Last month, Governor Glenn Youngkin unveiled an executive order that attempted to make masks optional in Virginia's public schools. Many school districts across the state, including Loudoun County, opted to keep their mask mandates despite the governor's executive order.
Many of the school districts that decided to keep their mask mandates cited SB1303, a law passed by the General Assembly that requires school districts to offer in-person learning and "to the maximum extent practicable" follow COVID-19 mitigation strategies from the CDC. The bill expires Aug. 1, 2022.
The parents' lawsuit in Loudoun County alleges that the school board's mask mandate is unlawful. "The Loudoun County School Board is defying a lawful public health directive issued by the governor," the lawsuit states. The suit continues to claim that the school board "is further ignoring the rights of Virginia parents to make basic decisions about the health and well-being of their children."
The Loudoun County Health Department has continued to recommend that residents wear a mask in indoor public settings.
Studies from the Centers for Disease Control in Wisconsin and Utah found that masks requirements in schools decrease the spread of COVID-19. The Wisconsin study determined that had mask mandates reported a 37 percent lower incidence of COVID-19 than the surrounding community. The Utah study noted similar findings; researchers determined that 20 elementary schools with mask mandates had significantly lower risk of community transmission of COVID-19, even when social distancing was not available.
In a statement last month, Youngkin said his executive order "is not about pro-masks versus anti-mask, it’s about empowering parents."
A court date has not yet been scheduled for the Loudoun County lawsuit, according to online court records.