On Saturday, Glenn Youngkin was sworn in as the 74th governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and he immediately went to work to keep the promises he made on the campaign trail. He signed eleven executive actions, including an order that would end the mask mandate for k-12 schools in Virginia as well as end the teaching of Critical Race Theory in schools.
Shortly after Youngkin signed these orders, Arlington Public Schools tweeted that it would still be requiring masks for its students, regardless of the executive order. Students enrolled in the Arlington Public School District of Virginia were required to wear masks during the school day, beginning with getting on the school bus, in the classroom, and then on the school bus at the end of the day.
Arlington Public Schools said that they are directed by “public law” to comply with any directives by the CDC, and, citing that the agency is still recommending masking, the school district would continue to enforce their current mask mandate.
On Sunday, Biden press secretary and Arlington Public Schools parent Jen Psaki also took to Twitter to express her feelings on the subject. “Hi there! Arlington County Parent here . . .Thank you to (Arlington Public Schools) for standing up for our kinds . . . and their safety in the midst of a transmissible variant.”
Psaki also noted in her tweet that Glenn Youngkin did not have students in the Arlington School District.
Pskaki went on to link a report by a local news network in which Youngkin had promised some recourse against Arlington School District; however, it is not stated what that action would be.
Youngkin won a governor’s race in November that has been considered a bellwether election and a prediction of the upcoming 2022 mid-terms. Youngkin was actually neck-and-neck or trailing behind his Democratic opponent – Terry McAuliffe, former governor of Virginia. However, after a summer of parents, particularly those in the Loudoun County School District, protesting the lack of transparency in schools, McAuliffe made a critical mistake when he stated that parents had no business in schools. McAuliffe’s numbers went down significantly, and despite appearances at McAuliffe’s campaign events by the Obamas, Vice President Kamala Harris, and President Joe Biden, McAuliffe could not overcome parents’ anger regarding his remarks.
Youngkin’s actions on Saturday simply reflect the promises he made on the campaign trail. Youngkin promised to stop school closures related to the pandemic, and he promised to end mask mandates across Virginia’s schools as well. He also promised that he would end the teaching of Critical Race Theory in Virginia schools, and he signed an executive order to that effect on Saturday as well.
When asked by a Fox News anchor about CRT being taught in Virginia schools, Youngkin replied that schools have not incorporated the controversial teachings into the curriculum, but that there have been consultants brought into school districts who promote the teachings associated with CRT.
Youngkin’s orders on Saturday allow for parents to opt out of mandatory masking at Virginia schools, and they also ban the use of “divisive concepts” such as Critical Race Theory in Virginia schools.