BREAKING: Amid Youngkin’s court fight, Virginia Senate moves to make masks optional at school

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Opponents of mask mandates in schools are using the power of the legislature to let parents decide whether to send their child to school with a facemask. 

The Virginia Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a bill that would prevent local school boards from levying mask mandates, and from punishing students whose parents opt to send their child to school without a mask. 

Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax City, filed the provision Tuesday as an amendment to a bill about in-person learning introduced by Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, R-Henrico.

Nine Democrats voted in opposition, and two abstained from voting. 

Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who is tied up in two remaining legal disputes challenging his executive order giving parents the power to opt out of mask mandates, hailed the Senate vote as a “victory for parents and children.”

Youngkin plans to fast-track the bill to becoming law once it reaches his desk, meaning that it could be the law in less than two weeks.

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