Gov. Youngkin releases 14-page guidance for how to keep COVID-19 out of schools

Masks are the last of nine prevention strategies listed

Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration has doubled down on its belief that students wearing masks in schools is “ineffective and impractical.”

That quote is taken directly from Executive Order 2, which the governor signed on his first day in office, creating an opt-out for parents to have their kids no longer need to wear a mask in school.

On Friday afternoon, the governor’s office released the Interim Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in Virginia PreK-12 Schools.

The 14-page document, which lists out nine prevention strategies recommended by VDH, has masking as the last strategy listed.

[Here are the 11 executive actions Gov. Youngkin signed on day one]

“I have said all along that we are going to stand up for parents. Executive Order 2 is not about pro-masks versus anti-mask, it’s about empowering parents. I am confident that the Virginia Supreme Court will rule in the favor of parents, reaffirming the parental rights clearly laid out in the Virginia code § 1-240.1. In the meantime, I urge all parents to listen to their principal, and trust the legal process. If you have any questions or concerns please contact us at helpeducation@governor.virginia.gov,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin.

The number one prevention strategy listed is vaccination. “Achieving high levels of vaccination and boosters among eligible students, teachers and staff is one of the most critical strategies to help schools safely operate,” according to the guidelines.

Here is a look at the full list of 9 prevention strategies:

  1. Vaccination
  2. Staying home when sick and getting tested
  3. Physical distancing
  4. Prioritize disease investigations and/or notifications of disease to school community
  5. Screening testing and Test to Stay
  6. Ventilation
  7. Implement Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette
  8. Clean and maintain healthy facilities
  9. Masks as prevention

Executive Order No. 2 goes into effect on Monday, Jan. 24.