Governor Youngkin removes mask mandate in public schools


Photo by Scott Elmquist/VPM

Glenn Youngkin waves to the crowd at his inauguration on Saturday Jan. 15, in Richmond, Virginia.

Ashlynn Harding, Chief Copy Editor

  Governor Glenn Youngkin was sworn into office on Jan 15th. Youngkin is Virginia’s 74th governor and is the first republican to hold office in nearly a decade. Youngkin has removed the mask mandate for public schools, which has changed the policies and restrictions all around the county. 

  According to National Public Radio, Youngkin stated that his goals were to “strengthen the spirit of Virginia.” He plans to accomplish this in his term, since he is a homegrown Virginian, who grew up in Richmond and Virginia Beach, and by receiving an engineering degree at Rice University and his MBA at Harvard Business School. 

  A few of the changes made in the state of Virginia are the Covid restrictions.

   “Youngkin also ordered an end… vaccines or weekly testing mandate for state employees put in place by outgoing Gov. Ralph Northam,” the Commonwealth of Virginia office of the Governor, Executive Order said. 

  Going off the executive order and the inaugural address, Youngkin has removed the mask mandate for public schools which has changed the policies and restrictions all around the county.
Due to the lift of mandates and restrictions “my goal is to return to a “normal” system and have the students return to a normal social life, even though we will be keeping some restrictions, because they are  basic safety policies. Eventually, I hope we can return to how the school once was and have no restrictions,” Principal Lee Downey said. 

  Even though Louisa’s systems have changed, other schools in the surrounding counties have different views on the matter. 

  “ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) – Charlottesville and Albemarle County schools will continue to require students and faculty to wear masks in all schools and facilities.In addition, masking will be required on buses, per federal requirement.” -NBC 29 reporters, Madison McNamee and Max Marcilla said.

  “HANOVER, Va. (WRIC) — The Hanover County School Board voted unanimously at their Monday meeting to comply with Governor Youngkin’s executive order ending mask mandates in public schools. But students heading into school tomorrow morning will still be required to wear their masks, as board members made clear. The new policy will go into effect next week, at the start of the school system’s second semester on Jan. 31.”- ABC 8 News reporter Jakob Cordes said. 

  Even as some school districts are having different responses, there are still counties that are taking similar actions to Louisa. 

  “POWHATAN, Va. (WRIC)– This Monday, Governor Glenn Youngkin’s executive order which allows parents to opt their child out of wearing masks in schools will take effect — and Powhatan County will be one of the many districts where students will not have to wear one.” – ABC 8 News reporter Nicole Dantzler said. 

  Throughout all the good and bad times with Covid, Governor Youngkin is hard at work collaborating with the school boards and communities to provide a safe return back into education and social events.