Baltimore

Panel approves face mask order for Maryland public schools – Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland 2021-09-18 16:31:26 –

A state legislative committee voted Tuesday afternoon to immediately order the wearing of face masks at all Maryland public schools.After four hours of testimony, the General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review voted 10-7 along party lines in favor of a face mask mandate, which takes effect immediately.During a meeting on Aug. 24, state school Superintendent Mohammed Choudhury urged the state Board of Education to order masking for all 24 jurisdictions.”This face covering requirement to protect the health and safety of all members of the educational community is a key component to keeping our children learning in school buildings,” Choudhury said Tuesday.Days later, the state board voted 11-1 in favor of universal masking in schools, but that measure required legislative approval by the legislative committee.Board President Clarence C. Crawford released a statement after the vote saying: “Our foremost priority as a board is always the safety of everyone in our school buildings — we take the health and safety of students and school staff in every part of our state very seriously. Circumstances require the need for a universal, statewide approach to masking in schools to keep our school communities safe and give every one of Maryland’s students the opportunity to learn in-person with as few interruptions as possible.”The committee’s vote on Tuesday will last for 180 days and could be rescinded sooner if metrics warrant. The state promised to review the masking mandate on a monthly basis. But that’s not good enough for some lawmakers who called the vote a political overreach.”The Legislature has never taken action to allow the state board to authorize a statewide mandate,” Carroll County Delegate Haven Shoemaker Jr., R-District 5.Schools in Carroll and Somerset counties started the school year with face masks optional. While disappointed with the panel’s vote, Carroll County Board of Education President Marsha Herbert said students in the district will be required to wear masks starting Wednesday.”I just feel that it was not a good decision and it’s a parent choice and we definitely lost that local control, and that really disappoints me,” Herbert said. “We will abide by the mandate.”Mixed reaction in Carroll CountyThere is mixed reaction in Carroll County about the mask requirement. “I think it’s terrible. I think it destroys a lot of issues about childhood. We are visual people,” said someone who identified himself as Skip.”I think that it’s a wonderful idea. I think that having that extra protection for the children because kids are messy, they touch their faces, they touch their mouths, especially younger kids,” Carroll County resident Katie Rohn said.All of this comes as COVID-19 cases among children are skyrocketing. According to the doctors at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Center for Public Health, the country has had nearly half a million new child cases in the last two weeks.”Fortunately, the number of kids who are getting severely ill having to be hospitalized or even dying from COVID is still small however because more children are being infected. We are seeing those rates those numbers increase,” Dr. Tamar Mendelson, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said.Mendelson said they attribute the increase to the delta variant and just how transmissible it is. With no vaccine for kids under 12, she said she supports masking in schools.”It’s a very good idea for folks to be masked in schools. Universal masking plus physical distancing and appropriate ventilation all can really help reduce spread and we are seeing much lower rates in schools and communities where those kinds of guidelines are being upheld,” Mendelson said.Carroll County officials said they’ll comply but not everyone agrees the state should’ve stepped in.”These are local issues there shouldn’t be mandates period in this whole country. It’s built on freedom of choice and we’re supposed to be intelligent people,” Skip said.”You got to do what you got to do to protect yourself,” Rohn said. Doctors are hopeful for a vaccine approved for kids under 12 in the next few months.Somerset County Public Schools issued a statement saying the district will comply with the mandate: “In compliance with the new regulation, Somerset County Public Schools’ administration has announced that effective Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, all students, staff and outside visitors are required to wear masks while inside school buildings.”The vote comes as Maryland added more than 1,000 new cases in the past day and the number of deaths continues to trend upwards. Since March 2020, almost 10,000 Marylanders have died from COVID-19 complications.More people need hospital care in Maryland as 26 people were admitted to hospitals in the last day. There are more 800 people who need hospital care as of Tuesday.Parents on both sides of the issue have spoken out to local school boards and also during Tuesday’s hearing.”This board is not regularly testing our students for COVID despite the governor’s assertion that ample is available for schools,” said Niki Guinan, a parent.When it comes to enforcement of mask wearing, the state school superintendent said he doesn’t support students being suspended for violating the mandate but said he believes principals should be the ones recommending discipline.Full description of the regulation as it relates to masksLegislative leaders react to committee’s voteDemocratic Senate President Bill Ferguson released a statement, saying: “The Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review (AELR) overwhelmingly approved a common-sense mask requirement for all Maryland schoolchildren, teachers and administrators.”This measure, which the Senate called for weeks ago, comes at a time when school has already begun across the state and the protection of our children needs to remain our top priority.”We know mask wearing helps slow the spread of COVID-19 and my goal has been to keep as many kids learning in school as possible. “This plan could have been implemented sooner; however, I applaud the AELR Committee for moving as quickly as legally allowed to slow the spread of the deadly delta variant in schools.”Democratic House Speaker Adrienne Jones tweeted: “The AELR Committee’s vote to approve the mask requirement in all public schools is data-driven and the right decision. Every student can’t get vaccinated, but they can all wear masks. We all have to do our part in eliminating the spread of COVID-19.”Senate Republican members of the committee released a statement, saying: “We are disappointed by today’s vote approving the Maryland State Board of Education’s Emergency Regulation to institute a statewide mask mandate in every Maryland public school. “This regulation is an overreach and political power grab by an unelected and unaccountable bureaucracy. It usurps the authority of elected local school boards who made their plans to safely return children to school by listening to parents and following the latest health and safety guidelines. It is a one-size-fits-all approach that does not account for the variation in educational settings and COVID-19 metrics found throughout the state or allow for local flexibility to act and react quickly to changing metrics. It is an inappropriate overreach for the State Board of Education to reverse a local board’s decision and then require that local board to enforce a mandate or risk their funding. “This is much more than a mask requirement. This regulation presents many compliance questions that will negatively impact the classroom and learning environment as local boards and educators struggle with enforcement.”

A state legislative committee voted Tuesday afternoon to immediately order the wearing of face masks at all Maryland public schools.

After four hours of testimony, the General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review voted 10-7 along party lines in favor of a face mask mandate, which takes effect immediately.

During a meeting on Aug. 24, state school Superintendent Mohammed Choudhury urged the state Board of Education to order masking for all 24 jurisdictions.

“This face covering requirement to protect the health and safety of all members of the educational community is a key component to keeping our children learning in school buildings,” Choudhury said Tuesday.

Days later, the state board voted 11-1 in favor of universal masking in schools, but that measure required legislative approval by the legislative committee.

Board President Clarence C. Crawford released a statement after the vote saying: “Our foremost priority as a board is always the safety of everyone in our school buildings — we take the health and safety of students and school staff in every part of our state very seriously. Circumstances require the need for a universal, statewide approach to masking in schools to keep our school communities safe and give every one of Maryland’s students the opportunity to learn in-person with as few interruptions as possible.”

The committee’s vote on Tuesday will last for 180 days and could be rescinded sooner if metrics warrant. The state promised to review the masking mandate on a monthly basis.

But that’s not good enough for some lawmakers who called the vote a political overreach.

“The Legislature has never taken action to allow the state board to authorize a statewide mandate,” Carroll County Delegate Haven Shoemaker Jr., R-District 5.

Schools in Carroll and Somerset counties started the school year with face masks optional. While disappointed with the panel’s vote, Carroll County Board of Education President Marsha Herbert said students in the district will be required to wear masks starting Wednesday.

“I just feel that it was not a good decision and it’s a parent choice and we definitely lost that local control, and that really disappoints me,” Herbert said. “We will abide by the mandate.”

Mixed reaction in Carroll County

There is mixed reaction in Carroll County about the mask requirement.

“I think it’s terrible. I think it destroys a lot of issues about childhood. We are visual people,” said someone who identified himself as Skip.

“I think that it’s a wonderful idea. I think that having that extra protection for the children because kids are messy, they touch their faces, they touch their mouths, especially younger kids,” Carroll County resident Katie Rohn said.

All of this comes as COVID-19 cases among children are skyrocketing. According to the doctors at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Center for Public Health, the country has had nearly half a million new child cases in the last two weeks.

“Fortunately, the number of kids who are getting severely ill having to be hospitalized or even dying from COVID is still small however because more children are being infected. We are seeing those rates those numbers increase,” Dr. Tamar Mendelson, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said.

Mendelson said they attribute the increase to the delta variant and just how transmissible it is. With no vaccine for kids under 12, she said she supports masking in schools.

“It’s a very good idea for folks to be masked in schools. Universal masking plus physical distancing and appropriate ventilation all can really help reduce spread and we are seeing much lower rates in schools and communities where those kinds of guidelines are being upheld,” Mendelson said.

Carroll County officials said they’ll comply but not everyone agrees the state should’ve stepped in.

“These are local issues there shouldn’t be mandates period in this whole country. It’s built on freedom of choice and we’re supposed to be intelligent people,” Skip said.

“You got to do what you got to do to protect yourself,” Rohn said.

Doctors are hopeful for a vaccine approved for kids under 12 in the next few months.

Somerset County Public Schools issued a statement saying the district will comply with the mandate: “In compliance with the new regulation, Somerset County Public Schools’ administration has announced that effective Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, all students, staff and outside visitors are required to wear masks while inside school buildings.”

The vote comes as Maryland added more than 1,000 new cases in the past day and the number of deaths continues to trend upwards. Since March 2020, almost 10,000 Marylanders have died from COVID-19 complications.

More people need hospital care in Maryland as 26 people were admitted to hospitals in the last day. There are more 800 people who need hospital care as of Tuesday.

Parents on both sides of the issue have spoken out to local school boards and also during Tuesday’s hearing.

“This board is not regularly testing our students for COVID despite the governor’s assertion that ample is available for schools,” said Niki Guinan, a parent.

When it comes to enforcement of mask wearing, the state school superintendent said he doesn’t support students being suspended for violating the mandate but said he believes principals should be the ones recommending discipline.

Legislative leaders react to committee’s vote

Democratic Senate President Bill Ferguson released a statement, saying: “The Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review (AELR) overwhelmingly approved a common-sense mask requirement for all Maryland schoolchildren, teachers and administrators.

“This measure, which the Senate called for weeks ago, comes at a time when school has already begun across the state and the protection of our children needs to remain our top priority.

“We know mask wearing helps slow the spread of COVID-19 and my goal has been to keep as many kids learning in school as possible.

“This plan could have been implemented sooner; however, I applaud the AELR Committee for moving as quickly as legally allowed to slow the spread of the deadly delta variant in schools.”

Democratic House Speaker Adrienne Jones tweeted: “The AELR Committee’s vote to approve the mask requirement in all public schools is data-driven and the right decision. Every student can’t get vaccinated, but they can all wear masks. We all have to do our part in eliminating the spread of COVID-19.”

Senate Republican members of the committee released a statement, saying: “We are disappointed by today’s vote approving the Maryland State Board of Education’s Emergency Regulation to institute a statewide mask mandate in every Maryland public school.

“This regulation is an overreach and political power grab by an unelected and unaccountable bureaucracy. It usurps the authority of elected local school boards who made their plans to safely return children to school by listening to parents and following the latest health and safety guidelines. It is a one-size-fits-all approach that does not account for the variation in educational settings and COVID-19 metrics found throughout the state or allow for local flexibility to act and react quickly to changing metrics. It is an inappropriate overreach for the State Board of Education to reverse a local board’s decision and then require that local board to enforce a mandate or risk their funding.

“This is much more than a mask requirement. This regulation presents many compliance questions that will negatively impact the classroom and learning environment as local boards and educators struggle with enforcement.”

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.



Panel approves face mask order for Maryland public schools Source link Panel approves face mask order for Maryland public schools

Back to top button