Republican Glenn Youngkin, signed 11 executive orders on Saturday just hours after he was sworn in as the 74th governor of Virginia.
He ended mask mandates in public schools, dropped vaccine requirements for state workers, and barred the teaching of critical race theory.
“We’re gonna rescind the mandate that requires K-12 children to wear a mask to school, and we’ve been quite clear about that,” Youngkin told WTKR-TV in Norfolk, repeating a point he made while campaigning.
School districts will be able to keep mask recommendations in place, but parents can choose not to follow them, he added.
“The way that Virginia works is that the governor cannot ban mask mandates. Schools make those decisions,” he said.
“We will in fact, then, also make sure that schools allow parents to exercise their rights for what’s best for their children, to opt-out of those mandates.”
Youngkin’s office did not respond to an inquiry about whether he will lift the K-12 mask mandate on his first day in office, or what he would tell parents who fear the policy change will spread the virus.
School boards in Virginia are expected to hold meetings next week to plan and discuss about this, accordingly.