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Virginia gubernatorial candidates respond to Gov. Northam’s comments on masks in schools

Northam says school divisions could face legal action if they don’t follow CDC recommendations

Virginia's candidates for governor, Terry McAuliffe (Left) and Glenn Youngkin (Right)
Virginia's candidates for governor, Terry McAuliffe (Left) and Glenn Youngkin (Right) (WSLS 10)

AMHERST COUNTY, Va. – Virginia’s gubernatorial candidates commented on Governor Ralph Northam’s order for school divisions to follow the CDC guidelines on masks—or face legal action.

Northam said Thursday that the law requires districts to offer in-person instruction five days a week and follow the CDC’s recommendations.

On Saturday, Republican nominee Glenn Youngkin attended a rally in Madison Heights.

He argued that while Northam never used the phrase ‘mask mandate’ while addressing the policy for grades K through 12, that’s what he implied.

“[Northam] basically did issue a mask mandate. He just didn’t really say it, but he did. And, I actually believe that parents, in fact, need to be heard here, and we have to get the decision back into parents’ hands,” said Youngkin.

In a statement to 10 News, a spokesperson for Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe said, This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated, and the only way we’re going to get through it is by getting every eligible Virginian vaccinated as quickly as possible. Glenn Youngkin opposes the American Rescue Plan, which has provided $77 million in funding for COVID-19 vaccine programs in Virginia alone.

Youngkin told us he is vaccinated and encourages others to get their shots.

About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.