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Video: Virginia Parents, Democratic Lawmakers Blast Youngkin’s “Illegal Executive Order” on Masks in Schools; Say He’s “Becoming the Most Divisive and Authoritarian Governor” in Virginia History

Youngkin trying to "appease the extreme far-right...instead of putting the safety of our children first"

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UPDATED 3:18 pm – Also see the press release from DPVA, below the video.

See below for video from DPVA of this morning’s “press conference on Governor Youngkin’s illegal executive order taking effect in school divisions across Virginia.” Speakers included:

  • Sen. Mamie Locke, who said Youngkin “is quickly on his way to becoming the most divisive and authoritarian governor in our Commonwealth’s long history.” She praised everyone taking a stand and fighting back against what she called “the first anti-education, anti-science and anti-student governor we’ve seen in years.”
  • Sen. Barbara Favola, who stressed the importance of in-person learning, and said that if we want to keep children in school, we have to keep them safe, including by following CDC guidelines. She said it’s unfortunate that Gov. Youngkin’s executive order has led to “confusion” on “this important issue.”
  • Del. Elizabeth Guzman, who accused Youngkin of using school children as political pawns to “appease the extreme far-right of the…Republican Party instead of putting the safety of our children first.” Del. Guzman stressed that the only way to keep schools open safely is to follow CDC guidelines, including the wearing of masks.
  • Concerned Virginia parents, who emphasized that they want schools open, and that the science is clear on how to accomplish that goal – in part by wearing masks.

ICYMI: House and Senate Democrats Hold Press Conference With Concerned Virginia Parents on Governor Youngkin’s Illegal Executive Order

 

Richmond, VA — Today, after news broke of seven school boards in Virginia suing Governor Youngkin over his illegal executive order, House and Senate Democrats and concerned Virginia parents held a press conference on the Governor’s illegal executive order that eliminates mask requirements in schools.

Sen. Locke, Sen. Favola, Del. Guzman spoke out against Gov. Youngkin’s executive order to remove mask requirements in schools. Legislators were joined by parents across the Commonwealth including Theresa Kennedy and Maria Cara Rose from Richmond and Suzanne Garwood from Arlington.

“As many of us here today know, seven of our states’ largest school boards filed suit to stop Governor Youngkin’s executive order,” said Sen. Locke. “I am proud to stand with the brave parents, including some from the Chesapeake 13, as they fight back for the safety of their children and applaud the districts who are taking a stand this morning against the first anti-education, anti-science, anti-student Governor we’ve seen in years.”

“Unfortunately Governor Youngkin is using our children, my school-aged children, as political pawns in his game to appease extreme far-right fringe wings of the Republican Party instead of putting the safety of our children first,” said Del. Guzman. “Governor Youngkin is not interested in protecting parents, he is interested in advancing a dangerous agenda that puts our children at risk and placing a greater burden on already stressed parents who will now be caring for their children who are sick or quarantined as a result of COVID.”

“I believe that all of us want to see our schools remain open. In-person learning is incredibly important for our student’s academic growth, but also for their mental health,” said Sen. Favola. “This is an incredibly important time in our history and we must stand up for our children. It’s unfortunate that Governor Youngkin’s executive order has incredibly confused this important issue.”

“I am here today to speak out against the Governor’s executive order and in full support of my school system and school board which have joined with the seven districts across the Commonwealth to sue Governor Youngkin,” said Theresa Kennedy Richmond, parent of two school-aged boys. “This is not about individual freedom, this is about the collective good of all of us. This is about us all belonging to each other and being responsible for each other.

“As a parent of two young children at RPS, I support our superintendent Jason Kamras’ decision to maintain masking in Richmond City Public Schools,” said Maria Cara Rose- parent from Richmond Public Schools. “I believe it is our duty to our community to do as much harm reduction as possible to ensure we keep as many people as possible safe. Masking is a minimal effort that we can take to ensure we slow the spread of the disease and not overwhelm our social systems. Masks work.”

“I am the mom of two children with disabilities who attend Arlington Public Schools,” said Suzanne Garwood- parent from Arlington Public Schools. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, my family struggled with virtual learning. My children need the benefit of in-person learning and the nurturing educational environment that they provide. We are thankful for having both of our children back in the classroom, but we rely on science-driven solutions to keep both of our children safe.”

Last Tuesday, Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that parents from Chesapeake filed suit in the Virginia Supreme Court against Gov. Youngkin’s illegal executive order that rescinds mask requirements in schools across Virginia. Today, The Washington Post reported that seven school boards sued to stop Gov. Youngkin’s mask executive order the day it took effect.

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