Board votes to let Maryland school districts decide face mask policy, state panel must OK – WBAL TV Baltimore

The Maryland state Board of Education voted Tuesday afternoon to make school face mask policies a local decision — but that’s not the final word.|| COVID-19 updates | Maryland’s latest numbers | Get tested | Vaccine Info ||The board’s 12-2 vote paves the way for the General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review to hold a hearing and ultimately take the final vote. The committee approved the current masking regulation and will have to be the one to lift it. Rachel McCusker was one of two board members who voted against removing the mask mandate so soon.”I have a responsibility to be prudent, and I just feel like we’re, like, a couple of weeks too early, and a couple more weeks, and we would know for sure,” McCusker said.Before the board’s vote, Maryland state school Superintendent Mohammed Choudhury recommended that face mask policies be a local decision.”Where we are it is the right time to bring it back to local control,” Choudhury said.| PDF: School Logistics and Transmission Rates related to COVID-19 – UpdateChoudhury said the policy achieved its intended result.”It did what it needed to do and it was the right decision,” he said.The board’s change of heart came after closed-door meetings and an improvement in vaccination numbers across the state.”Let them decide if they want to come up and use one of the off-ramps. They can. If they do not, that is fine. But the conditions are better, there is more testing,” Choudhury said.Based on the superintendent’s recommendation, the three “off-ramps” to the statewide masking policy do not have to be met when local districts decide masking policies.Montgomery, Howard and Frederick counties can go mask optional based on their current vaccination rates. Anne Arundel County did so last week.Frederick County has already met one of the COVID-19 off ramps to make masking optional. Meanwhile, across the state, school superintendents said they’re already making plans to take quick action.”I need to talk to my health department this week. I will be talking to individual members of my board. We have a board meeting Monday night, and this will be on the agenda,” Harford County Public Schools Superintendent Sean Bulson said.The board reached its decision as an anti-mask rally took place across the street from its headquarters. A couple of Frederick County parents who planned to take part in the rally attended the meeting during the final vote.”I’m really encouraged by the vote returning local control to the local school districts; however, don’t think they should have taken it to begin with,” said Kelly McMillian, a parent.”I made sure to e-mail them. In the meeting, I was like, this is what they said today. I have faith our local board is going to lift it tomorrow,” said Stephanie Gaiser, a parent.This action comes more than a week after Gov. Larry Hogan sought to have the board rescind its statewide school face mask policy.Hogan released a statement Tuesday afternoon, saying: “I want to thank the State Board of Education for heeding our call to rescind its school mask policy. This action aligns with the data and the science, the recommendation of the state superintendent of schools, and the guidance of medical professionals across the country.”I also want to express my sincere appreciation to all the parents who have spoken out in recent weeks. At a time when Maryland has the lowest COVID-19 metrics in the country, this is a major step for normalcy and the well-being of our students.”The General Assembly must now act swiftly to ratify the state board’s decision.”

The Maryland state Board of Education voted Tuesday afternoon to make school face mask policies a local decision — but that’s not the final word.

|| COVID-19 updates | Maryland’s latest numbers | Get tested | Vaccine Info ||

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The board’s 12-2 vote paves the way for the General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review to hold a hearing and ultimately take the final vote. The committee approved the current masking regulation and will have to be the one to lift it.

Rachel McCusker was one of two board members who voted against removing the mask mandate so soon.

“I have a responsibility to be prudent, and I just feel like we’re, like, a couple of weeks too early, and a couple more weeks, and we would know for sure,” McCusker said.

Before the board’s vote, Maryland state school Superintendent Mohammed Choudhury recommended that face mask policies be a local decision.

“Where we are it is the right time to bring it back to local control,” Choudhury said.

| PDF: School Logistics and Transmission Rates related to COVID-19 – Update

Choudhury said the policy achieved its intended result.

“It did what it needed to do and it was the right decision,” he said.

The board’s change of heart came after closed-door meetings and an improvement in vaccination numbers across the state.

“Let them decide if they want to come up and use one of the off-ramps. They can. If they do not, that is fine. But the conditions are better, there is more testing,” Choudhury said.

Based on the superintendent’s recommendation, the three “off-ramps” to the statewide masking policy do not have to be met when local districts decide masking policies.

Montgomery, Howard and Frederick counties can go mask optional based on their current vaccination rates. Anne Arundel County did so last week.

Frederick County has already met one of the COVID-19 off ramps to make masking optional. Meanwhile, across the state, school superintendents said they’re already making plans to take quick action.

“I need to talk to my health department this week. I will be talking to individual members of my board. We have a board meeting Monday night, and this will be on the agenda,” Harford County Public Schools Superintendent Sean Bulson said.

The board reached its decision as an anti-mask rally took place across the street from its headquarters. A couple of Frederick County parents who planned to take part in the rally attended the meeting during the final vote.

“I’m really encouraged by the vote returning local control to the local school districts; however, don’t think they should have taken it to begin with,” said Kelly McMillian, a parent.

“I made sure to e-mail them. In the meeting, I was like, this is what they said today. I have faith our local board is going to lift it tomorrow,” said Stephanie Gaiser, a parent.

This action comes more than a week after Gov. Larry Hogan sought to have the board rescind its statewide school face mask policy.

Hogan released a statement Tuesday afternoon, saying: “I want to thank the State Board of Education for heeding our call to rescind its school mask policy. This action aligns with the data and the science, the recommendation of the state superintendent of schools, and the guidance of medical professionals across the country.

“I also want to express my sincere appreciation to all the parents who have spoken out in recent weeks. At a time when Maryland has the lowest COVID-19 metrics in the country, this is a major step for normalcy and the well-being of our students.

“The General Assembly must now act swiftly to ratify the state board’s decision.”

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This content is imported from Twitter. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

This content is imported from Twitter. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

This content is imported from Twitter. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

This content is imported from Twitter. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

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