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LEESBURG, Virginia (LifeSiteNews) — Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) finally abandoned a months-long school mask mandate after a court ruling Wednesday and a new law signed by Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin that lets parents opt their kids out of mask requirements.

Superintendent Scott A. Ziegler said in a statement Wednesday that a ruling from the Loudoun County Circuit Court makes masks optional in the school district immediately.

“Starting tomorrow, Thursday, February 17, students may continue to wear masks if they choose to, but masks will not be required,” Ziegler said. “Any students who have faced disciplinary consequences for defying directives to comply with mitigation measures will have that consequence removed from their records in accordance with the Court’s order.”

The district had previously threatened to suspend unmasked students, and an LCPS security official told principals to obtain warrants so that law enforcement could arrest students without masks for trespassing, the Washington Examiner reported. Several members of the Loudoun County School Board are facing recall efforts, according to the outlet.

Masks will still be mandatory for unvaccinated LCPS employees, but not for vaccinated ones, even though data shows that COVID-19 shots do not stop the spread of the virus.

The Biden administration’s strict mask mandate for school buses and other public transportation remains in place for kids two years old and up.

Loudoun’s move comes after Gov. Youngkin on Wednesday signed SB 739, a bipartisan bill that allows parents to send their children to school without face masks, regardless of school requirements. The law comes into force March 1.

“Not only did we pass a bipartisan bill empowering parents to opt-out of school mask mandates, but also the Loudoun Circuit Court reaffirmed parents’ rights to have a say in their child’s health, education, care, and wellbeing,” the Republican governor said in a statement. “We’re excited that Loudoun has reached this decision.”

LCPS had kept its mask rules in place despite an executive order by Youngkin in January that let parents opt kids out of such mandates. Loudoun and six other school districts filed a lawsuit to block the governor’s order last month.

But local parents sued to force LCPS to follow the governor’s order, and Loudoun County Judge Fischer ruled Wednesday that the parents’ suit, which Youngkin joined, was likely to succeed.

“The executive order is a valid exercise of the governor of Virginia,” Fischer affirmed.

LCPS’ reversal also comes amid mounting backlash against the embattled school district’s COVID-19 policies and mishandling of sexual assaults, including the rape of a girl by a “gender fluid” high school boy that sparked national outrage last year. A group of parents and students served Loudoun County School Board members with hundreds of affidavits last week, demanding that they end the mask mandate and resign.

Various studies have shown that compulsory masking does not prevent transmission of coronavirus. Research has also found that masks actively harm children, potentially devastating their cognitive development and causing them to breathe dangerous levels of carbon dioxide.

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