Maryland governor blocks local governments from prohibiting school reopenings
The governor's move came after he had signaled opposition to a recent Montgomery County order blocking private schools from reopening for in-person classes through October 1
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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Monday issued an altered emergency order to block local governments from issuing blanket prohibitions on school reopenings.
The governor's move came after he had signaled opposition to a recent Montgomery County order blocking private schools from reopening for in-person classes through Oct. 1. Hogan on Saturday had tweeted his opposition to the county's restriction.
"The recovery plan for Maryland public schools stresses local flexibility within the parameters set by state officials. Over the last several weeks, school boards and superintendents made their own decisions about how and when to reopen public schools, after consultation with state and local health officials," Hogan said in a Monday statement.
"Private and parochial schools deserve the same opportunity and flexibility to make reopening decisions based on public health guidelines. The blanket closure mandate imposed by Montgomery County was overly broad and inconsistent with the powers intended to be delegated to the county health officer," the governor said.
Prior to Montgomery County Health Officer Travis Gayles's Friday order regarding private schools, Montgomery County Public Schools had already announced that learning would be fully virtual during the first semester.
Superintendent Jack Smith wrote in a July 21 email to staff that said "the safest choice for our district is to remain in a virtual-only instructional model through the first semester—January 29, 2021; or until state and local health officials determine conditions in our county allow for students to return."
As the coronavirus pandemic drags on throughout the summer, schools and governments around the nation are grappling with how to best approach the upcoming academic year while protecting the public health.
According to Johns Hopkins University there have been more than 4.7 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. and more than 155,000 deaths.