DICKENSON COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) — The Dickenson County Board of Supervisors called upon the school board to change course Tuesday night after the system elected to continue requiring masking in schools.

The school board’s decision to continue masking defies orders established by Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, which state that parents have the right to choose whether to send their children to school wearing a mask.

The county’s Board of Supervisors responded to school leaders’ decision to continue its mask policy, encouraging officials to reconsider the vote, reading in part the following.

“The BOARD calls on the Dickenson County School Board to follow Governor Youngkin’s Executive orders and specifically the ORDER permitting parents to make decisions regarding the wearing of masks by their child or children while attending school.

This BOARD encourages the Dickenson County School Board to reconsider its earlier decision to defy this Order in order to return to normalcy to our schools and to support the rights of parents.”

Resolution by the Dickenson County Board of Supervisors

The Board of Supervisors voted to adopt the resolution with a 4-1 vote.

The Dickenson County School Board on Tuesday said that Youngkin’s Executive Order 2 failed to address a myriad of legal concerns, including the following:

  • The federal mandate that orders students and staff to wear masks on buses. This expires in March 2022.
  • Revised Virginia Department of Health regulations that require students who tested positive for the novel coronavirus to wear a mask as they return to school the sixth day after testing positive through the 10th day.
  • The Department of Labor and Industries’ regulation that orders all staff members to wear a mask.

Dickenson County is one of two Southwest Virginia school districts to keep mask policies in effect. The Franklin County Schools system near Roanoke still requires masks indoors, according to the school system’s website on Jan. 26.

Dickenson County reported 50 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, according to data from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). Southwest Virginia continues to see a surge of cases, with a spread rate 74% higher than the statewide rate.

News Channel 11 used state-reported data to determine that Southwest Virginia’s overall higher transmission rate could be attributed to the region’s lower vaccination rate compared to the state.