The Great Unmasking

by Kerry Dougherty

Excellent news for students in two Hampton Roads school districts.

On Thursday, the ever-sensible Chesapeake School Board voted 7-1 to abolish its mask mandate. Beginning Monday, students in Chesapeake can breathe free again!

The board is complying with an executive order signed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin on Saturday, removing the former governor’s mask mandate for all Virginia students in grades K-12.

In a more stunning move, the left-leaning Virginia Beach School Board also decided more or less to comply with Youngkin’s order by a vote of 9-2.

In a weird sleight-of-hand, the board voted to allow parents to opt their children out of its mask mandate beginning on Monday. The compromise was crafted by Superintendent Aaron Spence. It allows the Beach to keep its mandate in place, while letting parents decide if their kids should wear masks for seven hours a day.

This is surprising, given that it was just last month, on Dec. 20, that the Beach board voted to keep masks mandatory by an 8 to 3 vote.

The Beach will still require masks on school buses — that’s a federal regulation — and when kids visit the school nurse. The schools will now revert to 10-day quarantines, from 5-days, because some children will not be wearing masks.


Teachers and staff will still be required to wear masks at all times and so will visitors to school buildings. The Beach is ordering a supply of N95 masks to distribute.

It would be wise not to waste any of those medical-grade masks on School Board member Jessica Owens. She was one of two board members who voted to ignore parents who want their kids out of masks, despite a recent admission by the CDC that cloth masks do little to slow the transmission of the Covid-19 virus.

Owens struggled to make argument after argument about the dangers of bare faces in school while constantly touching her own mask. Had she been wearing an N95, which should be replaced after handling, Owens would have had a pile of discards on the desk beside her.

The most vociferous opponent of parental choice was Dottie Holtz. She’s the board member who recently called for a boycott of several Beach restaurants because they were hosting petition nights to allow citizens to sign recall petitions against her and several other far-left board members.

We wrote abut her outrageous attempt to cripple local businesses earlier this week. This is conduct unbecoming an elected official.

I don’t often watch school board meetings, so I was shocked to find Holtz wearing what appeared to be a bathrobe or a Snuggie during the meeting.

Here, see for yourself.

Holtz is up for re-election this fall. Owens in 2024.

This column has been republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed & Unedited.