Governor Hogan Calls to End School Mask Policy

Press release from Governor Hogan’s office:

ANNAPOLIS, MD—Governor Larry Hogan today called on the Maryland State Board of Education to rescind its school mask policy, citing the state’s dramatically improved health metrics, the widespread availability of vaccines for school age children, and the growing consensus among medical professionals, parents, and bipartisan state officials.

“A growing number of medical professionals, parents, and bipartisan state officials throughout the nation are calling for an end to school mask requirements,” writes Governor Hogan. “In light of dramatic improvements to our health metrics and the widespread availability of vaccines, I am calling on you to take action to rescind this policy.”

Read the governor’s letter.

COVID-19 Hospitalizations Drop Below 1,000. In addition, the governor announced today that COVID-19 hospitalizations in Maryland have dropped below 1,000—another major milestone as the state continues to emerge from the Omicron wave faster than just about any state. Overall, hospitalizations have dropped by 71% since peaking last month just below 3,500. The state’s COVID-19 positivity rate has dropped by 82% to 5.12%. In addition, the state continues to report the lowest COVID-19 case rate in the country.

Read the full text of Governor Hogan’s letter:

February 10, 2022

President Clarence Crawford
Maryland State Board of Education
Nancy S. Grasmick State Education Building
200 W. Baltimore St
Baltimore, MD 21201-2595

Dear President Crawford and Board Members,

The COVID-19 pandemic presented unprecedented challenges for all Marylanders, but it has been perhaps most difficult and disruptive for our children. We have seen the harmful effects of prolonged school closures on the education, health, and emotional well-being of Maryland students. The consequences include failing grades, regressed social development, and increased mental health challenges. If these trends are not reversed quickly, we face the unthinkable prospect of a generation left behind, both academically and socially.

Since ending the state’s indoor mask mandate in May 2021, our focus has been on encouraging people to take appropriate precautions. In recent weeks, Maryland emerged from the Omicron wave faster than just about any other state. We continue to report substantial declines in all of our key COVID-19 health metrics, including the lowest case rate in the country. Maryland also continues to be one of the most vaccinated states, including vaccinating school age children at a rate above the national average.

I applaud you for your efforts to support in-person instruction and your emphasis on social-emotional health. Now, it is critical to move toward normalcy for students and families by rescinding the school masking policy that was adopted by the State Board of Education in Dec. 2021, and enacted by the Maryland General Assembly’s Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review Committee (AELR). We must all learn to live with this virus, not in fear of it.

A growing number of medical professionals, parents, and bipartisan state officials throughout the nation are calling for an end to school mask requirements. Public health experts who previously advocated for mandated masking in schools now call for eliminating these temporary measures. Dr. Leana Wen, former Baltimore City Health Commissioner, stated this week: “As long as vaccines and boosters continue to protect well among the vaccinated and as long as hospitals are not overwhelmed, restrictions should all be lifted.”

Last month, you stated the State Board of Education would continue reviewing current COVID-19 metrics to assess the need for the continuation of the school mask regulation. In light of dramatic improvements to our health metrics and the widespread availability of vaccines, I am calling on you to take action to rescind this policy.

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Oak Chapel is excited that Priority Partners Managed Care Organization (PPMCO) in partnership with Johns Hopkins HealthCare (JHHC) have selected the Oak Chapel Hub as the location for the first mini-food pantry/mini library in Montgomery County. Please join us for the cupboard unveiling on Saturday, May 18th, at 10 AM (rain or shine). This is scheduled to be an outdoor event. If there is inclement weather, the event will be held in the multi-purpose room of the main church building (Hub distribution location). The cupboard will be fully stocked and ready for the community to take what they need and leave what they can. It is a privilege to be able to continue to serve the 20906 community.

Fighting food insecurity, feeding families.

Submit your own Announcement here.

Movie being filmed in McLean, VA, needs your support

A local community movie is filming in our area in June and needs contributions!

Local actors, teens, teachers, housewives, and retired residences are trying to make this film happen but we need your help.

This is an educational short story about teens learning how to navigate when they don't feel accepted by their friends and what to do to find acceptance. Yet this film isn't just for teens. In your life have you ever felt like you weren't accepted??

Come be a part of the audience for this film! Invite your friends. Be a part of this film being produced right here in our area.

This is a social impact film that will show locally and internationally at film festivals in 2025 and also at colleges.

More information can be found here. DONATE TODAY:

https://www.filmindependent.org/sponsored-projects/ultimate-bias/

https://www.silvanomarifilms.com/jis

This is a not-for-profit film and donations are tax-deductible.

Free Community Father-Daughter Dance

Fathers and father figures, create unforgettable memories with your daughter at our free community father-daughter dance on June 1st, from 6-8 pm. Hosted outdoors at Olney Baptist Church. This event offers a delightful outdoor experience complete with a DJ spinning tunes, interactive games, a charming photo booth, delicious treats, and exciting raffle prizes. Fathers/father figures and daughters of all ages are warmly welcomed to share in this special evening together. Join us for an evening of joy, laughter, and cherished moments!

In the spirit of giving back to our community, we are partnering with Quest to Feed Montgomery to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those in need. We kindly ask each attendee to bring along a non-perishable food item to donate during the event. Every contribution, no matter how small, will go a long way in supporting families facing food insecurity in our area.

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