Maryland State Board of Ed & State Dept of Ed Receive Approval of Statewide Masking for ALL Public Schools
In support of continuing efforts to keep students and school staff safe and ensure schools remain open for in-person learning during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Maryland State Board of Education, together with the Maryland State Department of Education, today received approval of a statewide masking requirement for all public schools.
Following public testimony today, the Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review (AELR) Committee approved the emergency regulation, which will be in effect for 180 days. (click here to watch the meeting)
The emergency regulation requires any person inside a public school facility to wear a face covering, with certain exemptions in place. Aligned with all available health guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Maryland Department of Health, the new regulation is necessary to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Maryland public schools, prevent school closures, and limit the number of students required to quarantine out of the classroom.
“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,” said Board President Clarence C. Crawford. “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.”
“Masking inside schools helps protect our students, teachers and school staff as we continue to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said State Superintendent of Schools Mohammed Choudhury. “It is critical that all school systems follow this emergency law, and immediately implement face covering requirements as one of several layered public health strategies to keep schools open and safe.”
Currently, nearly all, 22 of 24, local school systems require face coverings inside schools; local systems may establish and implement further masking policies and procedures in addition to the minimum requirements outlined in the emergency regulation. The new regulation will be enforced immediately.
State Senator Mary Beth Carozza Calls Today’s Legislative Vote on Student Mask Mandates ‘A Major Overreach’ by the State Board of Education
Senator Mary Beth Carozza joined with her Senate Republican colleagues in calling today’s legislative vote “a major overreach by the State Board of Education, usurping the will of local elected school boards.” She has opposed mandated student school masks and mandated vaccines, and supports the below statement of her Senate GOP members on the Joint Committee of Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review who disapproved and voted against the State Board of Education vote for mask mandates.
“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.”
Senator Carozza is a member of the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee.