Virginia judge weighs governor’s power to lift mask mandate

Feb 1, 2022, 10:10 PM | Updated: Feb 2, 2022, 2:53 pm
FILE - Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, center, signs executive orders in the Governors conference roo...

FILE - Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, center, signs executive orders in the Governors conference room as Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears, left, Suzanne Youngkin, Second from left, Attorney General Jason Miyares, second from right, and Secretary of the Commonwealth, Kay Cole James, right, look on at the Capitol Saturday Jan. 15, 2022, in Richmond, Va. A judge is scheduled to hear arguments over whether local school boards or Youngkin have the final say on whether students must wear masks at school. Seven school boards from across the state filed a lawsuit last week seeking to block an executive order issued by Youngkin from taking effect.(AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

(AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin has broad power to issue executive orders overturning mask mandates in schools, lawyers from the state Attorney General’s Office argued Wednesday, while lawyers for local school boards argued that the governor’s action usurps their authority.

An Arlington County judge heard arguments from both sides in a lawsuit the school boards filed against Youngkin. She said she would issue a ruling soon.

In the meantime, schools and parents are left with uncertainty. School boards across the state have refused to implement an executive order from the new Republican governor that not only overturns a statewide mask mandate, but also bars local jurisdictions from imposing a mandate on students.

At Wednesday’s hearing, Deputy Attorney General Steven Popps argued that Youngkin is entitled to issue executive orders responding to the coronavirus pandemic just as his predecessor, Democrat Ralph Northam, did when he imposed a statewide school mask mandate.

“It should not matter whose name is on the executive order,” Popps said.

But John Cafferky, a lawyer for Alexandria Public Schools — one of seven school boards that jointly filed the lawsuit opposing Youngkin’s order — said Northam’s actions were justified because he was acting to preserve public health.

Youngkin’s order, on the other hand, endangers public health, he argued. He said Youngkin is using powers designed to curtail public health crises to impose his personal philosophy that parents should decide whether their children wear masks.

“The personal-choice rationale comes at the expense of schoolwide protection,” Cafferky said.

Cafferky also cited a state law that requires schools to adhere to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the extent practicable, and said those guidelines recommend universal masking.

Popps, though, countered that no school board is able to adhere to every single CDC guideline. The CDC also has called for vaccinating all children age 5 and older, but no school board has seen fit to issue such a requirement, he said.

Circuit Court Judge Louise DiMatteo took the arguments under advisement after Wednesday’s hearing, but said she is cognizant of the need for a swift decision. Both sides have asked for an injunction that would likely apply statewide, either barring implementation of Youngkin’s order or requiring local school boards to implement it, depending on which way she rules.

The lawsuit is one of several across the state related to the mask mandate and Youngkin’s executive order. Cases are also pending in Loudoun County and in front of the Virginia Supreme Court, but Wednesday’s hearing was the first to go before a judge.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

UN expert says Japan should do more for Fukushima evacuees

TOKYO (AP) — A United Nations human rights expert urged Japan’s government on Friday to provide evacuees from the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster with more support, including housing, jobs and other needs, regardless of whether they fled forcibly or not. Wrapping up an investigation of the evacuees’ human rights conditions, Cecilia Jimenez-Damary said Japan has […]
1 day ago
Border Patrol agents stand near the site where a Mexican detainee was fatally shot at the Ysleta Bo...
Associated Press

FBI: Man killed at Border Patrol station held ‘edged weapon’

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — A Mexican man fatally shot at a U.S. Border Patrol station in Texas had grabbed an “edged weapon” and was advancing toward agents when they opened fire, the FBI said Thursday. Manuel Gonzalez-Moran, 33, died at an El Paso hospital Tuesday after he was shot by Border Patrol agents. The […]
1 day ago
In this photo provided by South Korea Defense Ministry, an Army Tactical Missile System or ATACMS m...
Associated Press

US sanctions Asian firms over North Korean fuel shipments

WASHINGTON (AP) — In the midst of increasingly aggressive North Korean missile launches this week, the U.S. on Friday imposed sanctions on people and firms in Asia accused of helping North Korea procure fuel in violation of U.N. sanctions. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control targeted two people and three firms from Singapore, Taiwan and […]
1 day ago
FILE--In this June 20, 2019, file photo Deangelo Martin stands for a probable cause hearing, in Det...
Associated Press

Detroit man sentenced in killings of 4 women, 2 sex assaults

DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit man was sentenced to at least 45 years in prison after pleading guilty to murdering four women whose bodies were found in vacant houses and to sexually assaulting two other women. A Wayne County Circuit Court judge sentenced Deangelo Martin, 37, on Thursday to 45 to 70 years behind bars. […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Indian workers rescued from job scams in Southeast Asia

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s government on Friday said it has rescued about 130 Indian workers from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia after they were lured by agents for fake job opportunities in the information technology sector in Thailand. Arindam Bagchi, the External Affairs Ministry spokesperson, said some fraudulent IT companies appear to be engaged in […]
1 day ago
FILE - Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao answers a question during a Zoom meeting interview with The Assoc...
Associated Press

Binance hacked to the tune of $100 million or more

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, may have lost more than $100 million following a hack of its Binance Smart Chain blockchain network. A reddit post by Binance discussing the incident said that the company temporarily suspended transactions and the transfer of funds after detecting an exploit between two blockchains. “The issue is contained now. […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Virginia judge weighs governor’s power to lift mask mandate