PRESS RELEASE: Statement of Senator Dunnavant on Supreme Court Ruling
RICHMOND - Senator Siobhan Dunnavant (R-Henrico), a practicing physician, issued the following statement regarding today’s Supreme Court dismissal of a lawsuit brought by 13 Chesapeake parents against Executive Order No. 2. Dunnavant patroned SB1303 with Senators Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) and Joe Morrissey (D-Richmond), the legislation passed during the 2021 General Assembly session to ensure all Virginia schools reopen for five days a week, in-person learning for the 2021-2022 school year.
“As I have maintained, the Supreme Court of Virginia today released a decision that clearly stated SB1303, the bill that opened Virginia schools in the fall, does not constitute a mask mandate,” said Dunnavant. "No school district should feel obligated or bound by law to have a mask mandate.”
“The CDC guidelines are just that - guidelines,” continued Dunnavant. “The science and data do not show that masking of children is effective mitigation. Mask wearing has significant unintended consequences when it comes to the development of our children.”
"The politics over masks in school has to stop," concluded Dunnavant. "If a student, teacher, or staff member wants to wear a mask to school they should be allowed to, but they should not be forced to. We are moving in the right direction with protocols around quarantining and testing. Now it's time to follow the science with masks. It’s time to let kids learn."
Today’s order from the Virginia Supreme Court reads:
By allowing school boards to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommended COVID-19 mitigation strategies “to the maximum extent practicable,” SB 1303 necessarily gives the boards a degree of discretion to modify or even forgo those strategies as they deem appropriate for their individual circumstances.