Baltimore, MD- At the Maryland State Board of Education today, the Board, heeding calls from Governor Hogan and community leaders, have ended the state masks mandate for state public schools. At just a little after 1 pm the State Board of Education voted to lift the Maryland School Mask Mandate by a vote of 12-2, leaving it in the hands of local jurisdictions.

But the decision will not go into effect until the Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive & Legislative Review, a panel of state delegates and senators that oversees regulations or standards in the state, holds a vote of its own. 

At this time we are awaiting word on when the Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive & Legislative Review will hold its vote and when any local jurisdictions lift the mandate also.

The Governor stated in his letter, “Last month, you stated the State Board of Education would continue reviewing current COVID-19 metrics to assess the need for the continuation of the school mask regulation. In light of dramatic improvements to our health metrics and the widespread availability of vaccines, 1 am calling on you to take action to rescind this policy.

On February 16, 2022, the Anne Arundel County School Board of Education removed its mask mandate effective on February 18, 2022.

Multiple speakers spoke during the meetings., Parents talk of the hardships that children such as not being able to determine facial expressions of fellow students, teachers not recognizing kids they’ve known through the years. teachers making kids stand in the back of the room or even outside the classroom just to take a sip of water, due to having to remove the masks.

Dr. Corey Sharpe Huntingtown United Methodist Church(Calvert County) talked about how in his congregation they chose to stay with the mask mandates in their Sunday schools, but now believe it is time to lift them.

In a press release issued on February 11, 2022, the MDSE stated, “The Maryland State Board of Education is watching with optimism as Covid-19 metrics improve in the State in order to provide safe in-person instruction for our children and staff with minimal disruptions,” said State Board President Clarence C. Crawford. “In fact, the State Board issued the current not-to-exceed 180-day face-covering emergency regulation with off-ramps during the Omicron surge, in anticipation of an improving environment in which face coverings would no longer be needed as we learn to live with the virus.”

As a transition to ultimately lifting the face-covering requirement, these research-based off ramps allow local superintendents and school boards to unilaterally lift the requirement as follows:

  1. If at least 80 percent of the county population in the county where the schools are located is fully vaccinated, as reported by MDH.
  2. The local superintendent may lift the face covering requirement for a school facility or facilities after a principal or designated school official verifies that 80 percent of the school staff and students in the school facility have been fully vaccinated.
  3. The local superintendent may lift the face covering requirement in schools if the county has sustained 14 consecutive days of moderate or low transmission rate of COVID-19 cases, as reported by the CDC.

This is a developing story…

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...

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