Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin Ends School Mask Mandates On First Day In Office

On Saturday, Republican Glenn Youngkin was sworn in as Virginia’s 74th Governor. He’s the first Republican governor in the state in over a decade.

Youngkin defeated former Democratic Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe in November of last year.

Just hours after being sworn in, Youngkin signed nine executive orders and two executive directives, which included banning the teaching of Critical Race Theory in public education, stopping the use of mask and vaccine mandates to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and withdrawing Virginia from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a major climate change framework for Virginia and neighboring states.

Consistent with campaign promises concerning COVID-19, one of Youngkin’s orders removes state mask mandates for students at public schools. Youngkin rescinded Virginia’s vaccine mandate for state employees within his second executive directive.

Questions remain on whether the new governor has the authority to implement such changes with executive orders, specifically the ban on critical race theory. The new governor’s orders could also face legal challenges that prevent Youngkin from moving forward.

Notably, despite concerns from parents and Youngkin’s order to block it, the Virginia Department of Education said repeatedly that critical race theory is not part of the commonwealth’s K-12 curriculum.

Below is a list of Youngkin’s first executive orders and directives as released by the governor’s office.

Executive Orders:

  • Executive Order Number One delivers on his Day One promise to restore excellence in education by ending the use of divisive concepts, including Critical Race Theory, in public education.
  • Executive Order Number Two delivers on his Day One promise to empower Virginia parents in their children’s education and upbringing by allowing parents to make decisions on whether their child wears a mask in school.
  • Executive Order Number Three delivers on his Day One promise to restore integrity and confidence in the Parole Board of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
  • Executive Order Number Four delivers on his Day One promise to investigate wrongdoing in Loudoun County.
  • Executive Order Number Five delivers on his Day One promise to make government work for Virginians by creating the Commonwealth Chief Transformation Officer.
  • Executive Order Number Six delivers on his Day One promise to declare Virginia open for business.
    Executive Order Number Seven delivers on his Day One promise to combat and prevent human trafficking and provide support to survivors.
  • Executive Order Number Eight delivers on his Day One promise to establish a commission to combat antisemitism.
  • Executive Order Number Nine delivers on his Day One promise to withdraw from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

Executive Directives:

  • Executive Directive Number One delivers on his fulfilling his Day One promise to jumpstart our economy by cutting job killing regulations by 25 percent.
  • Executive Directive Number Two delivers on his fulfilling his Day One promise to restore individual freedoms and personal privacy by rescinding the vaccine mandate for all state employees.

 

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