Story at a glance

  • Hogan on Saturday said publicly he strongly disagreed with the county’s decision to mandate the closure of private and parochial schools.
  • He said the schools deserve the opportunity to make reopening decisions based on public health guidelines.
  • The order emphasizes school systems and private schools have the authority to determine how and when to safely reopen. Local health officials can close schools only on a case-by-case basis for health reasons.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) on Monday issued an amended emergency order stripping local public health officials from issuing blanket closures of schools after a disagreement with a Montgomery County decision to keep nonpublic schools closed. 

Hogan’s order comes after Montgomery County Health Officer Travis Gayles last week directed nonpublic schools in the county to not hold in-person learning through at least Oct. 1 due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Hogan on Saturday publicly said he strongly disagreed with the decision to mandate the closure of private and parochial schools.

Hogan’s revised order still allows counties to order closures of businesses and other organizations but exempts schools. The order emphasizes that school systems and private schools have the authority to determine how and when to safely reopen. Local health officials can close schools only on a case-by-case basis for health reasons. 

The Republican governor said Monday the blanket closure mandate out of Montgomery County was “overly broad and inconsistent with the powers intended to be delegated to the county health officer.” He said private and parochial schools deserve the same opportunity to make reopening decisions based on public health guidelines. 

“I have issued an amended emergency order ensuring that local schools and school systems retain the primary authority to determine when to safely reopen their facilities,” Hogan said in a tweet Monday. 

“To be clear, Maryland’s recovery continues to be based on a flexible, community-based approach that follows science, not politics. As long as schools develop safe and detailed plans that follow CDC and state guidelines, they should be empowered to do what’s best for their community,” he said. 

 

Published on Aug 03, 2020