February 9, 2022
Da’Quan Love, Executive Director
Virginia NAACP Issues Statement Against Optional Mask
Wearing in School Amidst Virginia Senate’s Passage of SB 739
VA – The
Virginia State Conference of the NAACP (Virginia NAACP) abhors the passage of
Senate Bill 739 (SB 739) with Senator Chap Petersen’s amendment where parents
are allowed to opt their child out of wearing a mask in school without an
is disappointing to the Virginia NAACP that Senator Chap Petersen would put
forth such an amendment that will knowingly harm the health and safety of our
children, teaching staff, and staff personnel in schools,” said Virginia
NAACP President Robert N. Barnette, Jr. “His sly tactics will now increase
the odds that hundreds of thousands of Virginia’s children may spread and contract
COVID-19 while in school.”
739 now, more than before, demonstrates a relentless disregard for the
well-being of Virginia’s children and makes schools less safe and inaccessible;
especially for our children of color who are already detrimentally and
disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 and behind because of discriminatory
barriers in our education systems.
Virginia NAACP stands by science and the CDC’s guidance for COVID-19 prevention
in K-12 schools, and with that comes the requirement of masks for our children.
Requiring masks in schools is a preventative measure and we will continue to
support and encourage all children to wear masks at school and on school buses.
To be on any other side is an outright failure to protect the health of the most
innocent among us, children.
NAACP urges all NAACP members and allies to take bold action against SB 739 and
urges the House of Delegates upon receipt of SB 739 to reject the bill’s
blatant failure to protect school children from the deadly COVID-19 virus and
therefore, take all necessary steps to protect students, teachers,
administrators, and all school staff.
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ABOUT THE VIRGINIA NAACP
Founded in 1935, the Virginia State
Conference of NAACP Branches (Virginia NAACP) is the oldest and largest
nonpartisan civil rights organization in the Commonwealth, overseeing over 100
NAACP branches, youth councils, and college chapters. The Virginia NAACP is the
preeminent voice of Black Virginians and advocates for policies and programs to
benefit Blacks and people of color. You can read more about the Virginia
NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas by visiting NAACPVA.org