Virginia’s New GOP Guv Dives Headfirst Into School Mask Mandate War

Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin speaks during a rally at the Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles on November 2, 2021 in Chantilly, Virginia. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
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Enter a brand new addition to Republicans’ war on schools requiring students and faculty to wear masks on campus.

Freshly inaugurated Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) on Sunday threatened to use state resources to force school systems to comply with his new ban on mask mandates after Arlington Public Schools announced it would refuse to do so.

Youngkin, who signed the ban immediately upon being sworn in on Friday, claimed the Arlington school officials “haven’t listened to parents.”

“So over the course of this week, I hope they will listen to parents, because we will use every resource within the governor’s authority to explore what we can do and will do in order to make sure parents’ rights are protected,” the GOP governor told local news outlet WTOP.

Youngkin didn’t specify which resources he’d use.

On Friday, Youngkin issued the executive order against school mask mandates as part of his “Day One Executive Actions.” Shortly afterward on Friday, Arlington’s school system announced that there would be no change to its mask policy despite the order. Alexandria and Fairfax County school systems are also defying Youngkin’s ban, as WTOP notes.

The clash between the Republican governor and the school systems directly parallels those in other GOP-lead states, such as Florida and Texas, where governors have railed against local schools that continue to require masks.

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