ARLINGTON, Va. — The week ahead holds the potential for conflict over the mask issue in the Virginia school districts as Republican Gov. Glenn Younkin's contested executive order making masking in schools optional takes effect.
In Arlington County, which is standing by its mandatory mask policy, police said they will not increase their presence over the issue.
"No increased police presence," a spokesperson for Arlington Virginia Police Department wrote in a statement. "As always, ACPD officers are on duty and prepared to respond to any calls for service in the County."
But, in Page County, Va., police in Luray said they will elevate their presence after 42-year-old Amelia King is out on $5,000 bail after telling the school board she’d bring loaded guns if her kids were forced to wear masks.
In an apology, she later wrote that she didn’t mean “actual firearms, but rather all resources I can muster.”
She’s been charged with making an oral threat on school property.
School Board members voted to make mask-wearing optional in Page County.
Fairfax County parent Kristen Jackson said she will send her children to school Tuesday with printouts of Youngkin's executive order in case they are challenged by school authorities for removing their masks.
“I'll go to the school and I'll send my husband to the school with me if I have to," Jackson told WUSA9.
But, other parents said they hope cooler heads prevail.
“I think it should be an individual parent’s decision but it's not really about making a statement for us," said Jon Besko, who supports Youngkin's order. "We're not trying to cause any scenes. Our kids will be there in masks, but at the end of the day I support parents' individual decisions.”
Besko seemed to echo Youngkin’s Saturday retweet of his message encouraging parents to “love your neighbor, listen to school principals, and trust the legal process.”
The court system is already involved because Youngkin’s order to make masks optional in schools directly contradicts a state law passed before his election that requires schools to adhere to U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines recommending masks in school settings, according to a lawsuit filed by parents in Chesapeake, Va.
No timeline for a legal decision has been announced.