A judge allows seven Virginia school districts to keep their mask policies in place.

A Virginia judge on Friday issued a temporary ruling that seven school districts could keep their mask mandates in place — a setback for...

A Virginia judge on Friday issued a temporary ruling that seven school districts could keep their mask mandates in place — a setback for Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who had signed an executive order making masks optional in public schools.

Last month, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church, Hampton and Richmond Public Schools filed a complaint against Mr. Youngkin, who issued the order on January 15, the day he took office. The order went into effect on January 24. Together, the seven districts, most near Washington, DC, serve more than 350,000 students. Several of the neighborhoods reported small outbreaks after the entry into force of the ordinance.

On Friday, Arlington County Circuit Court Judge Louise DiMatteo granted a temporary restraining order to school districts while the case makes its way through court. The judge said Mr. Youngkin had no authority to override local school board policies on mask mandates. The districts involved in the lawsuit released a statement on Friday saying they were “satisfied” with the decision.

“The order allows schools to continue to protect the health and well-being of all students and staff,” the statement said. “As the legal process on this issue continues, today’s decision preserves existing policies and practices in Virginia school divisions, which include masking requirements.”

Macaulay Porter, a spokesman for Mr Youngkin, said the governor “will appeal”.

“The Governor will never stop fighting for the ability of parents to choose what is best for their children,” Porter wrote in an email. “The Governor has often said that this is not about a pro-mask or anti-mask debate. It’s about parents knowing what’s best for their child’s health.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a California study showing that people who consistently wore high-quality masks, such as N95 respirators, were significantly less likely to later test positive for coronavirus than people who said they never did.

The case in Arlington County is one of many lawsuits over masks in schools in Virginia. A group of parents of disabled children filed a complaint in the West District of Virginia in Charlottesville, and 13 parents with children in Chesapeake Public Schools filed a complaint in the State Supreme Court against Mr. Youngkin.

And a big school district is fighting a trial of the parents, the governor and several members of his administration. The group, in Loudoun County, a heavily populated area in southwest Washington, is challenging the school board’s mask mandate.

Also on Friday, an Illinois circuit court judge issued a temporary restraining order preventing schools from requiring students to wear masks in classrooms. The state attorney general’s office will request an appeal, said Gov. JB Pritzker, a Democrat.

Mr. Pritzker said in a declaration that “the mask mandate and school exclusion protocols are essential tools to keep schools open and everyone safe.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: A judge allows seven Virginia school districts to keep their mask policies in place.
A judge allows seven Virginia school districts to keep their mask policies in place.
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