Rappahannock News

Former director of Rapp’s health district tapped by Youngkin to lead state agency in interim


Acting Director of the Rappahanno­ck- Rapidan Health District Dr. Colin Greene was recently tapped to serve in Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administra­tion as Acting Commission­er of the Virginia Department of Health.

Rappahanno­ck- Rapidan Health District Population Health Coordinato­r April Achter said starting Feb. 1, Dr. Leroy T. Gravatte, a primary care physician in Culpeper, will assume the role of director. Greene will oversee the department until then.

“This is the most important management team I have ever assembled, and Virginians can rest assured we have brought together the quali ed team that they deserve. Together, they will get to work on Day One to ensure we have better schools, safer streets, a lower cost of living, and more jobs for all Virginians,” Youngkin said in a press release.

Greene is a retired Army family physician and served as the Director of the Lord Fairfax Health District for the Virginia Department of Health.

A spokespers­on with the Youngkin administra­tion did not return a request for comment.

In a Jan. 24 interview with WTOP, Greene said that the evolving nature of COVID- 19 and its variants means that guidance will evolve. Current guidance from the Virginia Department­s of Health and Education state that parents are in charge of their children's health and education and schools must be open in- person ve days a week.

Greene said in the interview that there are “negative aspects” to mask wearing and that vaccines “will be the key” to keeping students and faculty safe from COVID- 19. Greene said mask wearing has a “lack of proven bene ts” which supports letting parents decide for their children.

There is a consensus among public health o cials that mask wearing does help to mitigate the spread of COVID- 19.

Greene had warned the Rappahanno­ck County School Board in

December that the Youngkin administra­tion would likely do away with the statewide masking mandate issued by former Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat. Greene told the School Board it would be “risky” to completely forgo masking as the infectious omicron variant spreads through the state.

“I have a feeling most COVID- related mandates will go poof on the 15th [ of January] and [ the Virginia Department of Health ( VDH)] will … return to an advisory role,” Greene told the body on a Dec. 15 Zoom call. “We will no longer be anything like the mask police … Republican­s like to decentrali­ze our decisions. I doubt you’re going to see the Department of Education telling you line by line exactly what to do. I think the school districts are going to have some freedom again.”

Youngkin did away with the statewide mask mandate a er taking o ce, and the Rappahanno­ck County School Board made masking optional for students and faculty.


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