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Any Fool Can Know. The Point Is to Understand. 

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” -Albert Einstein

I listened to Governor Youngkin’s inaugural speech with the same optimistic attitude that I always try to have when another executive full of hope and grand plans enters office. It’s that happy time before the reality of governing a diverse population kicks in.

Governor Youngkin wasted no time in meeting that reality head on, but in so doing put himself at odds with every School Board in Virginia.

Now, before my haters start throwing shade, I am no fan of masks. I hate the damn things. But I hate many laws I am required to obey, and like it or not, not even the Governor can ignore a law with the swipe of a pen. So, in his eagerness to appease the parents who understandingly don’t appreciate schoolwide mask mandates, Governor Youngkin has put local school boards between a rock and a hard place.

According to a lawsuit filed by parents in Chesapeake, Executive Order 2 is in conflict with a law that was passed in 2021 that requires school divisions to follow CDC guidance to “the maximum extent practicable.”

Requiring masks in school isn’t difficult, and “universal” masking is what the CDC guidance suggests. So it was no surprise that many school divisions opted to keep their mask mandates.

Chesterfield County decided to keep the masks until they received further guidance from the Governor, and on Friday he delivered. However, he suggests different types of mitigation and importantly, flexibility.

I read that here in New Kent, masks in school won’t be required, but they will still be required on the bus. I have no doubt there is good reason for this would-be nightmare.

It’s a shame that this horrible virus and the measures intended to mitigate the risks have turned into a political football. Viruses don’t discriminate based on political party. So, Andi’s advice is equally offensive to all.

First off, if the Governor doesn’t like the mask mandates, repeal the law. Easy enough in concept. But this particular law isn’t the only law that gives school boards, superintendents and principals wide latitude in operating K-12 schools in Virginia.

If school divisions want that flexibility, consider the option of a virtual equivalent to in-person class. We’ve certainly figured out how to accomplish that task, and yes, it might require an amendment to the same law.

If parents don’t like the requirements of local school divisions, they should absolutely explore their options of private or home school. But let us not forget, they do have options.

And for the lawsuit weary school divisions … you could add a temporary provision for masking to the dress code and there isn’t much anyone could do about it.

So, pick your poison, but for the love of God, please try to understand both the opinions, and the science. Since you’re not going to please everyone, piss them all off … equally.