RICHMOND, Va. (WFXR) — Gov. Glenn Youngkin provided updated guidelines regarding masks and schools across the Commonwealth. The guidelines create a parental opt-out from mask mandates for both public and private schools in Virginia.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Department of Education created these guidelines for parents, educators, and PreK-12 schools.

“I have said all along that we are going to stand up for parents. Executive Order 2 is not about pro-masks versus anti-mask, it’s about empowering parents. I am confident that the Virginia Supreme Court will rule in the favor of parents, reaffirming the parental rights clearly laid out in the Virginia code § 1-240.1,” Youngkin said in a statement released on Friday, Jan. 21. “In the meantime, I urge all parents to listen to their principal and trust the legal process. If you have any questions or concerns please contact us at helpeducation@governor.virginia.gov.”

The updated guidelines are outlined below:

  • Emphasize alternative mitigation measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19, including vaccination, distancing, and outbreak awareness.
  • Provide a clear decision tree for parents to review when trying to determine how to keep and return children to the classroom.
  • Strongly encourage strategies such as test-to-stay to keep and returns kids to the classroom as soon as possible.
  • Give schools practicable flexibility on contact tracing, distancing, and other strategies.

This guidance is part of the governor’s key principles of parental rights, keeping kids in the classroom five days a week, and keeping kids safe and healthy.

You can read the full guidelines from VDH and the Department of Education here.