Eve Hill and team of attorneys reach a landmark settlement on behalf of 12 students with disabilities in mask mandate lawsuit against Virginia Governor.

Eve HillThe Commonwealth of Virginia and the parents of 12 students with disabilities have officially settled a nine-month lawsuit surrounding school masking accommodations in Virginia public schools. The settlement affirms that peer masking in Virginia public schools is a reasonable modification for students with disabilities that put them at severe health risk should they contract COVID-19.

The landmark settlement comes from a February 2022 lawsuit filed by a team of attorneys, including Brown, Goldstein & Levy Partner Eve Hill and the ACLU of Virginia, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee, the disAbility Law Center of Virginia, and Arnold & Porter. The lawsuit challenged Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin’s Executive Order 2 and Virginia Senate Bill 739 – which barred schools from requiring students to wear masks – on the grounds that the laws violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by essentially excluding students with disabilities from public schools. The team filed the lawsuit on behalf of the parents of 12 students with disabilities in Virginia’s public schools who are more susceptible to severe illness if they contract COVID-19. Their conditions include cancer, cystic fibrosis, asthma, Down syndrome, lung conditions, and weakened immune systems.

In March 2022, the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia granted a preliminary injunction, allowing the 12 parents to make individualized requests to their children’s schools that classmates wear masks as a reasonable modification.

This week’s settlement clarified that schools must make accommodations under federal disability law if a child with a disability requires peer and teacher masking, regardless of the requirements of Executive Order 2 and Senate Bill 739. The Virginia Department of Education will send guidance to school districts and make that guidance available on the COVID-19 Special Education Resources page of its website. The settlement, which is awaiting court approval, will remain in effect for as long as any individual plaintiff attends a Virginia public school and is enforceable by the 12 plaintiffs in the district court.

“We are proud to have stood up for these parents and their children for the right to equal access to school,” said Eve Hill. “No school in Virginia should risk the life and health of students with disabilities by refusing to require masking when necessary.”


Eve Hill’s record of dedication to a wide range of civil rights cases has earned her recognition as one of the country’s leading disability rights attorneys. Her practice is dedicated to high-impact litigation on behalf of individuals with disabilities, and individuals, organizations and agencies alike frequently tap into her wealth of knowledge to advocate on their behalf. Eve also co-leads Inclusivity, BGL’s Strategic Consulting Group that works to help public and private sector organizations and industry groups navigate the rapidly changing landscape of disability and civil rights. Prior to joining BGL, Eve served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division for six years.