New Va. Gov. Youngkin issues executive orders on COVID mandates, CRT and more

WTOP’s Nick Iannelli is traveling with the Gov. Glenn Youngkin this weekend. Stay with WTOP and WTOP.com for extensive coverage from Richmond. Follow Nick as he reports from the scene in our live blog and follow Nick on Twitter at @NickWTOP.

Newly-inaugurated Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin began his term Saturday by issuing a batch of executive orders reflective of the conservative — and sometimes controversial — positions he campaigned on.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin prepares to sign executive orders in the governors conference room at the Capitol, Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, in Richmond, Va. (Photo AP/Steve Helber)

Though many of the executive statements are symbolic and do not carry the force of law, others will have the weight to direct state policy on divisive issues, such as the teaching of Critical Race Theory in public education, the use of mask and vaccine mandates to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and withdrawing Virginia from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a major climate change framework for Virginia and neighboring states.

Consistent with campaign promises concerning COVID-19, one of Youngkin’s orders removes state mask mandates for students at public schools. Within his second executive directive, Youngkin rescinded Virginia’s vaccine mandate for state employees.

As is common with many new executives, Youngkin will likely see immediate opposition in state legislature, as well as face legal battles in both state and federal court.

Below is a list of Youngkin’s first executive orders and directives as released by the governor’s office.

Executive Orders:

  • Executive Order Number One delivers on his Day One promise to restore excellence in education by ending the use of divisive concepts, including Critical Race Theory, in public education.
  • Executive Order Number Two delivers on his Day One promise to empower Virginia parents in their children’s education and upbringing by allowing parents to make decisions on whether their child wears a mask in school.
  • Executive Order Number Three delivers on his Day One promise to restore integrity and confidence in the Parole Board of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
  • Executive Order Number Four delivers on his Day One promise to investigate wrongdoing in Loudoun County.
  • Executive Order Number Five delivers on his Day One promise to make government work for Virginians by creating the Commonwealth Chief Transformation Officer.
  • Executive Order Number Six delivers on his Day One promise to declare Virginia open for business.
    Executive Order Number Seven delivers on his Day One promise to combat and prevent human trafficking and provide support to survivors.
  • Executive Order Number Eight delivers on his Day One promise to establish a commission to combat antisemitism.
  • Executive Order Number Nine delivers on his Day One promise to withdraw from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

Executive Directives:

  • Executive Directive Number One delivers on his fulfilling his Day One promise to jumpstart our economy by cutting job killing regulations by 25 percent.
  • Executive Directive Number Two delivers on his fulfilling his Day One promise to restore individual freedoms and personal privacy by rescinding the vaccine mandate for all state employees.

Joshua Barlow

Joshua Barlow is a writer, composer, and producer who has worked for CGTN, Atlantic Public Media, and National Public Radio. He lives in Northeast Washington, D.C., where he pays attention to developments in his neighborhood, economic issues, and social justice.

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