Jan 15, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin gives the inaugural address after being sworn in as the 74th governor of Virginia on the steps of the State Capitol on January 15, 2022
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin gives the inaugural address after being sworn in on Jan. 15. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) signed 11 executive orders following his swearing-in ceremony on Saturday, including those that overturn Virginia's mask mandate for public schools and a COVID vaccination requirement for state workers.

Driving the news: Youngkin also signed an order that bans the teaching of critical race theory, a major focus of the 2021 campaign.

  • Another one of the orders effectively withdraws the state from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a program with neighboring states intended to reduce carbon pollution.

Of note: Many of these moves could face legal challenges as well as pushback from state lawmakers.

What they're saying: White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Sunday responded to Youngkin, who made speaking up for parents against pandemic measures a key part of his election campaign.

  • "Hi there. Arlington county parent here (don’t believe you are @GlennYoungkin but correct me if I am wrong)," Psaki tweeted.
  • "Thank you to @APSVirginia [Arlington Public Schools] for standing up for our kids, teachers and administrators and their safety in the midst of a transmissible variant," she added.

Go deeper: Glenn Youngkin's play: Forever- and Never-Trumpers

Editor's note: This article has been updated with Psaki's comment.

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