Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General
Jason S. Miyares
202 North 9th Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
Virginia Relay Service
For media inquiries only, contact:
Attorney General Jason Miyares Joins 22 Attorneys General in Urging Biden Rescind Head Start Mask Mandate
RICHMOND, VA. — Attorney General Jason Miyares is joining 22 other Attorneys General in urging President Biden to end the Head Start program's mask mandate. The November 2021 mandate requires the forced masking of children and toddlers as young as two years old—even outdoors—in Head Start affiliated schools and daycares. The letter argues that the mandate subjects children and toddlers to arbitrary and inconsistent discipline for not wearing a mask and potentially harms the social and educational development of the students.
"Virginia no longer has forced masking in public schools. It's time that President Biden follow the lead of Governor Youngkin and end the forced masking in Head Start funded programs. Their mask mandate on preschool and kindergarten aged students negatively affects the most fundamental stage of their education, like learning letters and picking up on social cues from facial expressions,” said Attorney General Miyares.
In a letter to President Biden and other officials, Attorney General Miyares argues that the Head Start mask mandate is unnecessary, since states with the most restrictive COVID-19 policies are lifting indoor mask mandates at schools. The letter states "Your mask mandate was wrong from the beginning. The World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund advised: ‘Children aged 5 years and under should not be required to wear masks. This is based on the safety and overall interest of the child'…mask use should be limited because of the ‘potential impact of wearing a mask on learning and psychosocial development.'”
Soon the staff, children, and toddlers in Head Start programs will be among the only people in the country forced to wear masks.
The letter was led by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and signed by 22 other Attorneys General.
To read a full copy of the letter, click here.
# # #