Loudoun County students to face suspension if masks aren't worn

Loudoun County Public School students are facing suspension if they show up to school without a mask.

The LCPS system did not appear to send a county-wide notice but did confirm students were notified individually of potential punishment if they arrive to school without a face covering this week.

Abbie Platt, a parent who said she has three children in LCPS, showed FOX 5 the letter her family received from Blue Ridge Middle School in Purcellville, Virginia last Friday.

The letter reads: "Beginning on Wednesday, February 2, 2022, students who willfully continue to refuse to follow COVID mitigation measures as required by Loudoun County Public Schools will be suspended from school in relation to Violation of School Board Policy 8210, Introduction to Student Discipline, Section F.2. Willful or continued disobedience of school rules and regulation of school personnel; 3. Defiance of the authority of any teacher, principal or other person having authority on the school board."

The letter also stated: "A student who is suspended because of non-compliance with COVID-mitigation measures may return to school only when they agree to follow COVID-mitigation measures throughout the entire school day and at all indoor school-related events …"

Platt told FOX 5 she will continue to support her child not wearing a mask at school. "Each parent should get to make the decision that makes the most sense for their individual family," she said. "We were so thrilled when the governor made that announcement, that's because our little guy has chronic asthma, and he’s been on a nebulizer for two years. When you have something trapped on your face, and you are not able to breathe properly, it creates a serious health problem."

Platt said other parts of the Virginia school mask mandates are not being discussed.

Robin Scott, another LCPS parent, seemed content with keeping the school mask mandate in place.

"My husband is high risk and a cancer survivor, and he works on an airplane and that is the rule for them," she said. "Everybody has to be masked. If you don’t follow the rule, you’ll be asked off the airplane. You might be travel-banned. So that’s just an example."

RELATED: Loudoun County schools continue mask requirement; suspend staff testing and vaccine mandates

"Thank God, knock on wood, we’ve all been safe, and I think the masks in large part, have something to do with that," Scott added. 

Both parents want "off-ramps" to school masking but don’t agree on when.

LCPS did allow students who showed up to school without masks last week into school buildings. A spokesperson confirmed those students were separated from other students.

When asked how many students could be facing suspension this week, FOX 5 was told around 100 students out of LCPS’ over 80,000 students were reported to have gone to school without a mask on Friday. Some parents argue the number of impacted students is higher.

RELATED: Northern Virginia schools react to Gov. Youngkin’s mask mandate order

Loudoun County is not the only school district facing this school mask debate.

Carrie Lukas told FOX 5 her child was suspended from Fairfax County Public Schools last Tuesday for not wearing a mask. Lukas said she will continue to speak out on the matter at school board meetings.

"They really seem to take the compliance of most families as support for the masking rules when in fact, when you have high schoolers and older kids, they’re dangling suspensions at them, this is something that can impact their permanent record," Lukas said.

Governor Glenn Youngkin’s Executive Order made masks in schools optional starting on Jan. 24th. Many public school districts in the region did not follow the Executive Order, claiming it violates state law. 

The Virginia Attorney General requested the state Supreme Court take up the matter. It appears state leaders are still waiting for a decision.