BLUEFIELD, VA (WVNS) – Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin has ended the mask mandate, meaning kids in the state no longer have to wear masks to school.

Governor Youngkin’s recent changes to Virginia’s COVID protocols included sweeping changes. One of the main differences in the new guidelines, is children are no longer required to wear a mask at school. Under Youngkin’s plan, that decision is now up to the parents.

59 News went to Graham Middle School in Bluefield, Tazewell County on Monday, January 24, 2022, to ask parents if they felt safe sending their children to school without a mask on.

“Well I had caught COVID and almost died from it from people not wearing a mask,” said Graham Middle School parent Brandon Salyer. “You know, I don’t think the vaccine should be a mandate but I think the kids should have some type of supervision as far as learning, to at least wear a mask.”

However, not everyone felt that masks should still be required in schools. In fact, it was almost exactly fifty-fifty. 

For parents who supported Youngkin’s decision to end the mandate, the main thing they said appealed to them was they felt like they were getting some freedom back by being able to choose whether their child would wear a mask or not.

“I think it’s kind of crazy that we’ve been wearing them in schools as long as we have,” said Graham Middle parent Chris Kiser. “Because at sporting events they weren’t wearing them. Inside or outside. I just think it’s been a long time coming.”

But it won’t be just students and parents who are affected by the governor’s decision. Grandmother Barbara Pickett says she’s very concerned about her grandchildren spending so much time around their classmates without a mask on. And she fears that if they catch COVID in school, then come home and transmit the disease to her,  it could cost her her life.

 “I’m in my eighties,” Pickett explained. “If someone my age gets the virus, I’m in big trouble.”