Maryland education board votes to lift statewide mask mandate, return decision to local school systems

“At a time when Maryland has the lowest COVID-19 rates in the country, this is an important step for the normal life and well-being of our students,” Hogan said in a statement on Twitter.

There was no set date for the Joint State Legislative Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Assessment – a group of senators and delegates reviewing the state agency’s proposed regulations – to vote on the council’s decision. Hogan called on the General Assembly to “act quickly.”

Head of Public Schools Mohamed Chowdhury recommended local oversight to disguise the decisions before the council voted 12 to 2 for the change.

“We have a very smart answer. We have very smart ramps. Let them [school systems] decide whether they want to come and take advantage of one of the ramps, “Chowdhury said during a board meeting on Tuesday.” Conditions are better. There are more tests, there are more vaccines available. “

According to data collected by The Washington Post, Maryland has a lower seven-day coronavirus rate than the United States as a whole, although new daily cases have risen 18 percent in the past week. During that time, the daily death toll in the state fell by 27 percent, and hospitalizations related to COVID-19 fell by 14 percent.

Chowdhury’s recommendation came at a time when states across the country have repealed the requirement for masks in schools, with some leaving decisions to local areas. In the District of Columbia, the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington last week announced a revised policy that would make masks optional for some Maryland schools where there are no mandates for masks from local government leaders. Last week, Virginia lawmakers passed a law that was immediately signed by Gov. Glen Yangkin (right), which makes masks optional for students in the state from March 1st.

District of Columbia public schools continue to hold students in disguise. District of Columbia Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) has previously stated that schools will not be the first place where virus restrictions “retreat”.

Current Board of Education of the State of Maryland The mask mandate includes conventions that allow schools to repeal the mask requirement if the county reaches at least 80 percent vaccination levels, if 80 percent of school staff and students in the building are vaccinated, or if the county has had 14 days of moderate or low transmission of coronavirus infections. Chowdhury said school systems could still use these indicators as a guide if they decided to repeal the camouflage requirement.

Melissa Idleman, the father of two children attending Anne Arundel’s schools, said Tuesday before a vote to the state board that she was proud of her local jurisdiction for making the decision but was saddened by the process it took. She told the board because it needed to be canceled because the “masks” forced the coronavirus vaccine to introduce parents and children.

“The simple reality is that you’re not going to force people to do things they just don’t to feel comfortable, even though you are sure that you are making the right effort to do so, ”Eidman said.

Council Vice President Charles R. Dashiel Jr. – who made the initial petition for the abolition of the mask mask – said previous decisions by the state school board had “carefully considered science and health.”

“As health data continues to show improvement, we are now at a point where we can restore the authority to make these decisions to our local jurisdiction,” Dashiel said.

Before the vote, Dozens of demonstrators were heard near the Maryland Department of Education building calling for the abolition of the mask mandate. with singing “Our children, our choice.”

Two School board members wanted to keep the mandate on the mask for a few more weeks, given that data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that only Prince George County in Maryland had moderate coronavirus transmission as of Monday. Other jurisdictions had significant or high levels of transfer, meaning a level of positivity of at least 8 percent.

“It would give us time to see what happens to this new option, BA.2,” said board member Holly S. Wilcox. “It’s only about 30 days left, so maybe it would be wiser to go for that approach.”

Lori Moore, a parent representative on the state council, pointed to these high transmission rates in many Maryland counties ahead of the vote and said she hoped those jurisdictions would take steps to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“If we still have a high level of transmission in the districts, there should still be these mitigation measures … so whether it’s the use of masks in public, vaccination, it really depends on everyone in society,” he said. Seas.

Cheryl Bost, president of the Maryland Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union, said she hoped local education councils would continue to use public health indicators as a guide before deciding to remove the mask. Previous outlets have worked for schools across the state, she said. She added that there are students and teachers with health conditions that make them vulnerable to the coronavirus, and some will not be able to stay in schools in person without a mask.

“Health and safety must continue to be our priority,” Bost said.

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