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Loudoun County School Board votes to keep mask mandate in place despite governor's order

The school system also announced staff and student-athletes will no longer have testing or vaccine requirements.

LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. — The Loudoun County School Board voted 8-1 in favor of keeping kids in masks on Tuesday night.

The decision was made despite Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s recent executive order giving parents the authority when deciding whether or not students must come to school masked. 

RELATED: Youngkin's order to lift mask mandate in schools receives pushback from leaders, schools, parents

"We acknowledge that these ongoing mitigation measures are not ideal or easy, and we will keep monitoring transmission data, advice from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), and continue consultation with the local Loudoun County Health Department," Superintendent Scott Ziegler said Wednesday. 

Previously, Loudoun County Public Schools said masks would continue to be required in schools for at least the week of Jan. 17, until the governor's order could be fully reviewed.

In addition, the school system also announced Wednesday that staff testing and vaccine mandates will end. LCPS employees who are not fully vaccinated will no longer be required to submit weekly COVID-19 test results. However, the superintendent specified that the district still recommends eligible staff receive the COVID-19 vaccine and recommended boosters. LCPS also removed the student-athlete testing requirement for the remainder of the 2021-2022 school year.

So far, Fairfax, Prince William, Alexandria and Arlington have all shared that they do not plan to remove their mask mandates. 

Culpeper and Spotsylvania schools announced Tuesday that they will be following the governor's order, stating that masks covering the nose and mouth are now optional for students, staff, and visitors. 

Stafford County also appears to be ready to switch to mask-optional when the executive order takes effect. 

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