The Washington Post reports that more than half the school districts in Virginia are defying Governor Youngkin’s order to eliminate mask mandates.

Youngkin boasted on a conservative radio program that only a small percentage of districts were not complying with his belief that masks should be optional.

But a Washington Post analysis shows that the majority of Virginia public school districts — enrolling more than two-thirds of the state’s students — have opted to disobey Youngkin’s mask-optional order. As of Wednesday, two days after the order was supposed to take effect, 69 districts, or 53 percent, are still requiring masks for all students inside schools. Cumulatively, those districts enroll 846,483 students, or about 67 percent of the state’s public school student population. The divide falls along partisan lines, although not perfectly: Almost every district that opted to make masks optional is in a locality that voted for Youngkin in the 2021 gubernatorial election.

The widespread defiance suggests Youngkin will have enormous difficulty in enforcing his mask-optional mandate, which is already the subject of two lawsuits: one from parents in Chesapeake, and one from seven school boards that oversee some of the state’s largest, most prominent school districts. A hearing on the second suit is scheduled for next week. Youngkin has said he will use every tool at his disposal to carry out his order as those cases wind through the court system, and his spokeswoman did not rule out disciplining disobedient districts by yanking their state funding…

Frederick Hess, a senior fellow and director of education policy at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute, said he thinks Youngkin should stay the course on his masking policies, while vigorously fighting back against the two lawsuits challenging the executive order.

If parents prioritize the health and safety of their children, they will tell them to wear a mask in school and wherever groups of people congregate.