White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki criticized newly sworn-in Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, after he signed an executive order lifting mask requirements in schools.
Shortly after Youngkin took office, he signed nine executive orders and two executive directives, CBS News reported. The orders included a ban on teaching Critical Race Theory (CRT) in public schools and rescinding a vaccine mandate for state employees.
After Youngkin signed an order prohibiting school mask mandates, Arlington Public Schools announced they will continue to require all staff and students to wear masks on school property and on the school buses.
"Universal mask use has proven effective in keeping COVID-19 transmission rates low in our schools and ensuring schools remain safe and open," Arlington Public Schools said in a statement shared to Twitter.
“The fact 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 said to reporters after Arlington Public School’s tweet was published. “It is time to listen to parents. 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 parent’s rights are protected.”
Exclusive: Governor Youngkin on Arlington school system saying it will require masks, despite Youngkin’s order stating that schools can’t do that. He threatened to use state resources to force schools to comply - but we still don’t know what that means exactly. @WTOP https://t.co/5Lijz9kbgd pic.twitter.com/SnC4dcCIar— Nick Iannelli (@NickWTOP) January 16, 2022
Psaki responded to Youngkin’s response to Arlington Public Schools defying his executive order on mask mandates, pointing out that he’s not an “Arlington county parent” and thanked the school district for continuing to require masking in schools.
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
Hi there. Arlington county parent here (don’t believe you are @GlennYoungkin but correct me if I am wrong),” Psaki wrote. “Thank you to @APSVirginia for standing up for our kids, teachers and administrators and their safety in the midst of a transmissible variant.”