Earlier today, the House of Delegates passed Senate Bill 739 on a party-line vote, which will end mask mandates in every Virginia public K-12 school. The bill is now headed to  Governor Glenn Youngkin, who has indicated he will add an emergency clause to make the bill effective immediately. The General Assembly will consider any recommendations later this week.

“What our children have had to endure over the last two years will impact them for years to come,” said Speaker Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah. “It’s time we end the insanity and let our kids be kids again. Virginia is behind the curve for states ending masking mandates and I’m proud of the legislature for getting this done quickly. Our kids can’t wait.”

“Parents in Southwest Virginia and across the Commonwealth should be making decisions about what’s best for their children. That shouldn’t be controversial. Thanks to the hard work of this body, Virginia is once again a leader in protecting individual and parental rights,” said House Majority Leader Terry Kilgore, R-Gate City. “We’ve kept our promise, and now we’re working hard to address other issues impacting Virginia families.”

“States are now engaging in cost-benefit analyses and many are moving quickly to remove masks in schools,” added Caucus Chair Amanda Batten, R-James City County, the patron of the identical House Bill 1272. “Parents are best positioned to evaluate the risks and benefits of masking to the child, and this bill will allow them to do so.”

“For far too many school districts, masks have become a political statement. When parents object, some systems have gone so far as to send out instructions for their staff to issue trespassing warrants against students,” said Majority Whip Michael Webert, R-Fauquier. We don’t arrest children for refusing to wear a mask. Today’s action by the House is the beginning of the end of this senseless overreaction.”

“Government overreaction to this pandemic has been devastating to our children,” said House Education Committee Chairman Glenn Davis, R-Virginia Beach. “As state after state rolls back mask mandates, too many Virginia students have been left behind. Our Commonwealth has reopened. It’s time to let our children breathe freely again.”