Disabled Students Challenge Virginia Governor’s Executive Order Banning School Mask Mandates

Feb 1, 2022 | Covid-19

Parents of disabled children in Virginia filed a federal lawsuit today to challenge Governor Youngkin’s Executive Order Two. The Executive Order directs schools to allow parents to opt their children out of universal mask requirements for any reason or no reason at all.

The plaintiffs are children whose disabilities make them particularly susceptible to severe illness if they contract COVID-19. They argue that the Governor’s forced repeal of school mask mandates will effectively exclude them from public schools, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act (RA). Executive Order Two prohibits school districts from implementing reasonable modifications, like universal mask requirements, that these students need to attend school safely.

This lawsuit follows similar ADA/RA litigation in federal courts in several other states. It is the third lawsuit in Virginia to challenge Executive Order Two. Suits are also pending in the Supreme Court of Virginia and Arlington Circuit Court.