CHESAPEAKE, Va. – Students who attend Chesapeake Public Schools will not be required to wear masks in the building starting January 3, 2022.
This comes after the Chesapeake School Board voted 5 to 3 on Monday night.
District spokesperson Richard Babb wrote in a statement, “The School Board voted to make masks for students, vaccines, and testing for student-athletes optional beginning January 3, 2022. Masks will continue to be required on all school buses, as per the federal requirements. Employees and visitors will continue to wear masks inside school buildings.”
So far, no change for employees. Staff will still be required to wear masks.
During the meeting, board member Christie New Craig stated, “I think we really need to take a hard look at our kids and see the destruction that this has caused. Not just on children but parents, teachers, staff.”
As one might expect, the decision is getting a mixed reaction.
Some parents told News 3 they are excited and happy to let their children have freedom.
"I was at the meeting Monday night," said parent Kim Scott. "When I came home and told my children that as of January 3rd, they no longer had to wear masks to school, they were elated. This was the best Christmas present they could have asked for."
One mother in favor of the mask mandate says she’s considering taking her 4-year-old out of the public school system because she’s concerned for his safety.
"I'm starting to get very concerned. I’ve got an unvaccinated kid who really doesn’t have any kind of protection at all if people aren’t even going to wear masks in the school, it’s just not worth it to me, to put his health and safety on the line and not just his health, our entire family," stated parent Melanie Cornelisse. "It’s important to teach our kids, and I guess a lot of members of our citizenry, that it’s important sometimes to take some small measure, some small thing to keep our entire community safer."
On Friday, Chesapeake Schools announced that it will soon have a seat to fill on its school board.
A statement from the schools read: "Due to the election of School Board Chair Victoria L. Proffitt to Commissioner of the Revenue for the City of Chesapeake, the School Board of the City of Chesapeake will have a vacant seat beginning January 1, 2022."