Fluvanna superintendent warns some parents organizing students to attend school Monday without masks

By staff

Fluvanna County School Superintendent Peter M. Gretz said he has learned some parents are attempting to organize students to come to school Monday without a mask. Gretz sent an email today (Jan. 20) to Fluco staff and families urging parents “not to bring conflict to our schools Monday.”

“Deliberately encouraging students to come to school without masks will not only be disruptive, but damaging to the entire school and community,” he wrote.

The Center for Disease Control recommends masks be worn to slow the spread of COVID-19 and Virginia Senate Bill 1303 requires that masks be worn in schools and on buses, But Gov. Glenn Youngkin has issued an executive order that makes mask’s voluntary in the state’s public school. The matter is before the courts.

The Fluvanna County School Board voted in August to implement universal masking.

The email in full reads:

Good afternoon FLUCO staff and families,

There’s a great deal of turbulence in our community right now. Understandably, people on all sides of the mask issue remain concerned and unsettled about the state’s and our district’s disposition towards masks in school.

I have learned that there are some parents attempting to organize students coming to school Monday without a mask, encouraging them to refuse to comply with the masking requirement. I urge you not to bring conflict to our schools Monday, and certainly not to involve children in it. Our students have missed too much school, they need instruction, connection and normalcy. Deliberately encouraging students to come to school without masks will not only be disruptive, but damaging to the entire school and community.

To reiterate and be clear, at present we are keeping universal masking as approved by the school board in August  while we wait on two things:

  1. There is currently a lawsuit filed against the Governor and a Supreme Court judge will soon rule on whether or not the executive order in question is in violation of SB1303. The judge’s ruling will resolve the question and provide clear direction.Some believe SB1303 requires schools to follow the CDC’s recommendation to have universal masking in schools and the executive order doesn’t supersede that law (such as our board attorney). Others believe the executive order does not infringe on SB1303 and that it is incorrect to interpret SB1303 as mandating masks in school (such as one of the Senators who wrote the bill in question). Let’s let the judge rule and answer the question before we step ahead.
  2. Since the school board voted to implement universal masking in August, any revision to that policy would need to be considered and acted upon by the school board.Let’s allow the board to convene in a way that provides ample opportunity for the public to attend and participate, preferably with the knowledge that will come when the Supreme Court renders its decision.

I am confident we will have crystal clear direction soon regarding the executive order and masks in school. When we do, the prevailing disposition will invariably upset a great number of people. Some of you desperately want everyone masked in school, others want just as desperately to see the mandate removed. My hope is that what will unite all of us is our commitment to making life and school as normal, rewarding and enjoyable as possible for our children, given the current conditions.

Again, let’s wait for the Supreme Court to settle this issue and allow our school board to thoughtfully meet, deliberate, and decide our path forward. I’m not asking anyone to compromise their position on masks, but rather asking that we all pause and wait on the necessary information. In the meantime, let’s come together as a community for our students.

Honored to partner with you,

Peter M. Gretz, Division Superintendent


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