Governor Hogan plans to rely on public school officials to ease mask guidelines

“We’re going to ask them to consider making changes to that at their meeting this month,” Hogan said Tuesday.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he plans to rely on state education officials to ease mask requirements in schools, rather than influence policy through an executive order.

The governor made his intentions known on Tuesday by announcing a dramatic drop in covid cases and a 95% vaccination rate, which he proclaimed to be the highest in the country.

Currently, the Maryland State Department of Education reviews its mask recommendations to local schools on a monthly basis.

“We’re going to ask them to consider making changes when they meet this month,” Hogan said.

According to guidelines adopted by the Council last month, masks should be mandatory in schools until 80% of the county’s population is vaccinated, 80% of a school’s students and staff are vaccinated or if the The county’s transmission rate is “low” or “moderate” for 14 consecutive days.

According to state health data, Howard County, Maryland, has already surpassed the community vaccination goal of 80% for two doses, but school authorities are sticking to masks for now, according to a school district spokesperson.

“As COVID cases continue to decline rapidly, we continue to have indoor masking in place,” Howard County Schools spokesperson Brian Bassett said in a written statement. “We will continue to evaluate all of our COVID mitigation strategies and work with the Howard County Health Department to adapt as we are able.”

Montgomery County’s vaccination rate is approaching 77%, according to state health data. County school officials say the end of the masking is not yet clear.

“We are still in the early stages of vaccinating children between 5 and 11 years old and we only have just over 60,000 people who have opted for the COVID-19 test at school,” said Tuesday. MCPS spokesman Chris Cram: “So the question is, when is the right time.

Prince George’s County immunization rate is 62%.

“The Maryland State Board of Education is optimistically watching the state’s improving COVID-19 measures as our goal has been and continues to be to provide safe in-person instruction,” the board wrote in a statement. .

Hogan has made it clear that he will not try to lift public school mask guidelines by executive order.

“I don’t see us taking the kind of action that Governor Younkin did when he’s embroiled in all sorts of lawsuits now with the school boards, because I don’t believe we have the power to demand that the school boards do what I say,” Hogan said. “The voters elected them. But we will definitely intervene when we think they are too aggressive.”

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