Some school systems are ending mask mandates now that the Maryland State Board of Education said it’s up to the counties to make them optional. The state’s largest school system in Montgomery County is waiting, for now.
Students in Howard County public schools will no longer be required to wear masks indoors starting on March 1.
But Montgomery County students will have to keep those masks on.
“We’re never going to have a decision that is good for everyone,” said Montgomery County School Board member Rebecca Smondrowski.
The board discussed ending the mask mandate in schools at the Montgomery County Board of Education meeting on Thursday.
Of those who spoke on the matter, Smondrowski and Karla Silvestre said they are in favor of lifting the mask mandate in schools.
“We have to have an exit plan. I support going mask optional,” Silvestre said.
Student board member Hana O’Looney said it’s too soon.
“We just want our schools to be comfortable spaces for students. The last thing I want to do is to make them not comfortable for students,” O’Looney said. “I think our school system should follow CDC guidance at minimum.”
The state board has already approved “off ramps” for districts to lift their mandates.
This includes at least 80% of a county’s population being vaccinated. Montgomery County’s rate exceeds 85%.
MCPS Superintendent Monifa McKnight said she thinks they should wait until a state legislative committee agrees with the state board of education decision.
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