On Friday night, a local health official in Montgomery County, Md., issued an order prohibiting all private schools from offering in-person instruction until at least October 1. The mandate in Maryland’s largest county, home to one million residents, sparked a strong backlash over the weekend from parents and others concerned privately funded schools would permanently shutter because of the order.
On Saturday, Maryland GOP governor Larry Hogan criticized the local official’s decision, and on Monday Hogan issued an emergency order prohibiting local officials from shutting down all schools.
Hogan said in statement:
Private and parochial schools deserve the same opportunity and flexibility to make reopening decisions based on public health guidelines. The blanket closure mandate imposed by Montgomery County was overly broad and inconsistent with the powers intended to be delegated to the county health officer.
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.
“Under an order issued April 5, local health departments continue to have the authority to close any individual facility deemed to be unsafe,” according to a press release from the governor’s office.