New governor’s policy is killing our kids

1/27/2022, 6 p.m.
Gov. Glenn A. Youngkin used his wealth to purchase the job of Virginia’s governor and he also bought and paid ...

Gov. Glenn A. Youngkin used his wealth to purchase the job of Virginia’s governor and he also bought and paid for many Virginia parents.

Now, within hours of taking office, he has tried to put an end to mask mandates in the state’s public schools through an executive order that states, “The parents of any child enrolled in an elementary or secondary school or a school-based early childcare and educational program may elect for their children not to be subject to any mask mandate in effect at the child’s school or educational program.”

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends that all children over the age of 2 wear masks at school in indoor settings.

As a retired teacher and school administrator after 30 years, I would never suggest to parents that they exempt their children from mask requirements. I would say to parents, “If you love your children, require them to follow the CDC recommendations by wearing masks to school, along with the staff, teachers and visitors.”

Parents should not take advice from Gov. Younkin as to whether children should wear face masks to school because he is not a scientist, educator or health professional. He was the co-chief executive officer of a giant private equity firm, The Carlyle Group, until he resigned in September to run for office. He has several mansions at his disposal, including a home on 13 acres with an outdoor basketball court and a swimming pool in the Washington, D.C., exurb of Great Falls, Va. He is an American businessman with no experience as a health professional, scientist or educator. He has not had any other job that required him to care about the health and welfare of children. He was never even an elected official previously.

Even though Gov. Youngkin signed that executive order on his first day in office, one of his sons attends a school that requires masks. The school’s policy states, “At this time, Georgetown Prep requires all persons, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks while indoors on campus, except while eating meals or while residents are in their own dorm room.”

Ibukun C. Kalu, M.D., a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at Duke Health, said that face masks are not just for adults and that masks are used to limit the spread of COVID-19 by everyone. She went on to say that most children can wear a mask in public as long as they are taught to do so in an age-appropriate way, and that parents should take the time to teach their child that, along with frequent hand washing and physical distancing, wearing a face mask correctly and consistently not only protects our communities, it also shows kindness, caring and support for everyone else in our community.

As a Nottoway County native who owns property and pays taxes there, I am gravely concerned. Gov. Youngkin is killing our kids. Without face masks, children could get COVID-19 and experience painful symptoms such as fever, dry cough, tiredness, aches and pains, sore throat, diarrhea, conjunctivitis, headache, loss of taste or smell, rash on skin, discoloration of fingers or toes, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, chest pain and loss of speech or movement.


Silver Spring, Md.