* indicates a change made to this story as of this update.
WILLIAMSBURG – JAMES CITY COUNTY — In response to Governor Glenn Youngkin’s Executive Order 2, the Williamsburg – James City County (WJCC) School Division held a special call school board in a special meeting on Jan. 20, 2022 to discuss a path forward for WJCC schools’ families, faculty, and staff.
Executive Order 2 states that “The parents of any child enrolled in a elementary or secondary school or a school-based early childcare and educational program may elect for their children not to be subject to any mask mandate in effect at the child’s school or educational program.”
The first motion was in recognition of the Governor’s Executive Order and was motioned by Sarah Ortego and seconded by Greg Dowell.
A quick vote followed shortly thereafter the motions with a final tally of two ayes and four nays.
Ayes: Sarah Ortego, Greg Dowell
Nays: James Beers, Kyra Cook, Julie Y Hummel, Kimberly Hundley
Next, there was a second motion by Kyra Cook to continue to comply with Senate Bill 1303, “which requires that each school board offer in-person instruction that adheres, to the maximum extent practicable, to the currently applicable mitigation strategies for elementary and secondary schools to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 that have been provided by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which currently includes universal indoor masking in K-12 schools.”
The School Board voted four ayes to two nays to continue to comply with Senate Bill 1303.
Ayes: James Beers, Kyra Cook, Julie Y Hummel, Kimberley Hundley
Nays: Sarah Ortego, Greg Dowell
“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve made decisions to protect the health and safety of our students, staff, and families,” said Superintendent Herron before the vote. “Layers of mitigation implemented have helped prevent in-school transmission of COVID-19 and enabled us to keep our doors open for in-person instruction. From my perspective as superintendent, per our attorney’s guidance, Senate Bill 1303 is the law, either until it expires on August 1st, 2022, or the general assembly adopts a bill, and the new governor signs that bill into law.”
More updates on WJCC can be found on their website or Facebook page.
*York County School Division (YCSD) has announced that its students and staff will continue to wear face masks while the division awaits further guidance. Poquoson City Public Schools, however, will comply with Executive Order 2, which allows parent choice regarding mask wearing while on public school property (with the exception being school buses, where masks will still be required).