Masks on for Montgomery County summer classes

Students attending Montgomery County, Maryland’s in-person summer classes, which start July 6, will be required to wear masks inside classrooms, and the policy may continue in the fall.

That’s despite the fact that Maryland’s statewide mask mandate is no longer in effect. Gov. Larry Hogan announced in June that the state of emergency he’d declared would end July 1.

At Tuesday’s board of education meeting, board member Patricia O’Neill asked about that decision by the school board saying, “Are we confusing things?” and asked if the schools were following a mandate from the county council, which has in the past issued orders under the authority to sit as the county’s board of public health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 70% of the county’s population as a whole has been fully vaccinated. Of those 12 and older who are eligible for the coronavirus vaccines, the rate is 80%.

Dr. Monifa McKnight, the acting superintendent of schools, told O’Neill and the board members, “All of this is subject to change, as we will constantly follow local guidance.”

McKnight said the precaution was in large part because children under 12 are not yet eligible for coronavirus vaccinations. She added that school officials expected an update from the county health officer, Dr. Travis Gayles, next month.

Everett Davis, the director of Student Family and School Services, told the board that during the summer classes that begin July 6, “Outdoor mask-wearing is not required, but highly recommended,” although he did say that given the hot weather, “We definitely want people to be mindful of the temperatures.”

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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