WV Lawmakers Want Voters to Decide Final Say on Education

A bill banning public school mask mandates passed the West Virginia House of Delegates on the afternoon of Mar. 1. 

House Bill 4071 or “The Public-School Health Rights Act” will ban public schools from requiring COVID-19 testing for anyone not showing symptoms regardless of vaccination status. It will also ban the required quarantines without a positive test result. 

The bill also states that any legal guardian of a student holds their right to determine whether their child will wear a mask or any form of face covering on the school premises.  

The Public-School Health Rights Act now heads to the Senate after six Democrats voted along with the Republican party. The only members to vote against the bill came from the Democratic party and were still outvoted.  

Delegates spent their debate time mostly discussing masks and their reliability.  

Delegate Roger Conley (R-Wood) said, “This is not hardcore science, this is political science… Masks don’t work.”  

The West Virginia legislature website states that the bill’s lead sponsor is delegate Jordan Maynor (R-Raleigh). The bill also includes sponsors Steele, Honaker, Smith, Tully, Kessinger, Ward, B., Foster, Ellington, Keaton and Gearheart.  

Rep. Maynor described it as “pretty hypocritical” to allow athletes to be in such close range with one another—as well as allowing spectators to be maskless—but still requiring them in the classrooms. 

The rights identified by this bill will not be able to be overridden by any elected official as stated in the House Bill. Nothing presented in the Bill will prevent any individual to wear a face covering.  

Governor Jim Justice and the State Board of Education do not require masks in any public schools, and the current mask mandates have been falling throughout county school systems.