White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki expressed her frustration with newly sworn-in Virginia Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin on Sunday, blasting his plan to let parents choose whether their children can opt-out of school mask mandates in the county where she lives.
Psaki shared the concern on Twitter Sunday alongside a video of Youngkin.
“Hi there. Arlington county parent here (don’t believe you are @GlennYoungkin but correct me if I am wrong). Thank you to @APSVirginia for standing up for our kids, teachers and administrators and their safety in the midst of a transmissible variant,” she wrote.
Hi there. Arlington county parent here (don’t believe you are @GlennYoungkin but correct me if I am wrong). Thank you to @APSVirginia for standing up for our kids, teachers and administrators and their safety in the midst of a transmissible variant. https://t.co/6UeNIYoZCU
— Jen Psaki (@jrpsaki) January 17, 2022
The post included a video of Youngkin speaking about school mask mandates that has been viewed more than 900,000 times since Sunday.
The reporter in the video told the governor that Arlington Public Schools plan to ignore Youngkin’s order to end mask mandates, asking his view on the subject.
“The fact that that tweet came out from Arlington County within minutes of my executive order, what that tells me is they haven’t listened to parents yet,” Youngkin responded.
“If there’s one thing that hopefully everybody heard in November, is that it is time to listen to parents,” Youngkin added.
“So over the course of this week, I hope they will listen to parents,” he said of Arlington Public Schools, “because we will use every resource within to governor’s authority to explore what we can do and will do in order to make sure parents’ rights are protected.”
Youngkin’s order included the directive that “[a] child whose parent has elected that he or she is not subject to a mask mandate should not be required to wear a mask under any policy implemented by a teacher, school, school district, the Department of Education, or any other state authority.”
It also adds, “No parent electing that a mask mandate should not apply to his or her child shall be required to provide a reason or make any certification concerning their child’s health or education.”
The change will become effective on January 24.
Youngkin just signed executive order telling parents statewide they have a right to say whether or not their children wear a mask in school. @WTOP pic.twitter.com/ReBUrEPikq
— Nick Iannelli (@NickWTOP) January 15, 2022
On Saturday, Arlington Public Schools sent a communication stating it will maintain its current mask requirement for students, staff, and visitors. The current rule includes wearing a mask inside facilities and on buses.
@APSVirginia will maintain our current mask requirement for students, staff and visitors. Masks 😷 required inside our facilities and on school buses. Full post ➡️ https://t.co/VNWoSQKPeF
— Arlington Public Schools (@APSVirginia) January 15, 2022
“Arlington Public Schools will continue to require all staff and students to wear masks inside on school grounds and on buses, as part of our layered approach to safety. Universal mask use has proven effective in keeping COVID-19 transmission rates low in our schools and ensuring schools remain safe and open,” the school district said in its statement.
The executive order was one of 11 signed by Youngkin during his first day in office. The Daily Wire previously reported:
New Virginia Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin signed 11 executive orders and directives on his first day in office after being sworn-in over the weekend.
“No matter who you voted for, I pledge to be your advocate, your voice, your governor,” Youngkin said at his inauguration speech on Saturday. “We stand here on January 15, 2022 filled with hope and optimism for the years ahead. This hope and optimism springs from a shared vision for the future, and also from knowing what we have been through.”
Youngkin immediately went to work in trying to deliver on promises that he made on the campaign trail by signing a slew of executive orders and directives aimed at a variety of issues ranging from cutting regulations to banning critical race theory in schools.