ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – Roanoke City Schools announced Tuesday that students, staff, and visitors will still have to wear masks while on school grounds, becoming the latest district in the Commonwealth to go against a recent executive order signed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin “allowing parents to make decisions on whether their child wears a mask in school.”

The issue of the mask mandate has become a widely debated topic in Virginia.

“Masks are not going to fix anything except cause more damage for children. Not only learning, but emotionally,” said Roanoke County resident Cheryl Carner. “I think the mandate never should have happened. We don’t have any proof that the masks work. Kids are missing out on smiles and hugs and things that we need to just nurture each other.”

“I think that mask mandate should be up to the parents. If they feel they want to protect their child in that way then it should be up to them. I don’t think it should be mandated,” said Vicki Thompson of Roanoke County.

“I think it should be left up to the individual or the parents of the student,” said Roanoke County resident Wanda Hylton.

“As a parent, I’ll make my kid wear the mask,” said Kilder Chavarria of Roanoke City. “At this moment to me I think it should be mandatory because we see a lot of cases in kids and people dying from the virus.”

According to data from the Virginia Department of Health, as of Tuesday, Jan. 18, there were 285,204 COVID-19 cases among people 19 years old and younger, 1,929 who required hospitalization, and 17 who have died.

Youngkin has not directly threatened to defund schools that chose not to follow the repeal of the mandate. However, Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears suggested during an interview with FOX News the possibility of withholding funding.

Some, even those who support the repeal, do not support cutting funding from schools that still choose to require masks.

“I don’t think that they should lose their funding because of that,” said Thompson

“It’s not fair. It’s not fair because taxpayers pay the taxes so if the school gets help from the government they should keep getting it no matter what,” Chavarria said.

“I don’t think that’s right either. If that’s what the school board has decided and the parents are backing that I think we need to listen to the people,” said Carner.