Hogan, GOP Ask State Board of Education to End Universal Masking in Schools

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Ever since schools started opening up after the pandemic, the Maryland State Board of Education has made it mandatory to wear masks. The Maryland school districts followed this rule diligently as the regulation is legislature-approved. However, only recently, this regulation has seen a lot of protests, namely from the Republicans.

According to Jason Buckel, the Allegany County Republican Delegate, it is time to embrace the change. Buckel is also the minority leader of the House. He has even penned a letter to the state board of education and the state superintendent addressing the issue. According to Jason, wearing masks within the school does not prevent the spread of the coronavirus. It does, however, have an impact on the social and educational development of the children.

From what it looks like, the regulation for wearing the mask is about to end on 25th Feb. After this, the local school systems can permit 80% of their staff and students to roam freely without a mask. However, there is a condition: all inhabitants need to be fully vaccinated. Otherwise, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would have to survey the local transmission rate of COVID within a county.

If the rate seems low or moderate for 14 consecutive days, the mask mandate will also be lifted. Gov. Larry Hogan has asked the state board to revoke the mask policy on Thursday in the middle of all this. In his argument, the abundance of vaccines and an improved health metric is sufficient to make this call. He termed the recent turn of events in Maryland’s key health metrics as “dramatic improvement’ in a recent tweet.

Hogan is hopeful that the Maryland State Board of Education will make changes in the policy after their meeting. However, he made it clear that he would not be forcing any executive orders on this subject as Gov. Glenn Youngkin did in Virginia. He has faith in the school boards to make the right decision and does not want to involve the legal authority in this.

At the same time, Buckel has expressed his confidence that the Maryland school authority will not make the same mistake as Virginia. It is clear on their part that the government officials want to avoid any legal conflict or controversy at the moment. However, they are still persistent that the school authorities take their advice into account and take accountability.

On the other hand, the Maryland State Board of Education has not yet made any remarks on the subject. So far, they have just mentioned that they are still in the process of giving a response to the governor. Right now, all eyes are on the next meeting on 22nd Feb between the governor and the State Board of Education. However, no further assessment can be made until the final call, as some authorities might still be against this. The head of the Maryland State Educators Association has stated in support of keeping the masks on until further visible improvements.