Beyond MoCo: Howard County Board of Education Votes to Lift Universal Indoor Mask Mandate, Effective Tuesday, 3/1/22

At its meeting on Feb. 24, 2022, the Howard County Board of Education voted to make face coverings optional, effective March 1, based on the Maryland State Department of Education’s off-ramp option one for school districts to lift mask requirements.

The Montgomery County Board of Education announced that it will be holding off on making any changes to the school mask requirement until March 8.

On Tuesday, February 22, the Maryland State Board of Education voted 12-2 today to rescind its statewide mask mandate for public schools, effective March 1.

The Maryland General Assembly’s Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review Committee (AELR) is scheduled to meet tomorrow, February 25, to approve the Maryland State BOE’s decision.

MCPS Superintendent Monifa McKnight said she was waiting on the AELR’s decision before moving forward with any changes.

Last night, the Frederick County Board of Education of voted to encourage face coverings but no longer require them inside all school buildings effective Friday, Feb. 25.

The full message from Howard County can be seen below:

Effective Tuesday, March 1, universal indoor masking in HCPSS buildings is no longer required. Any student, staff or visitor may choose to wear a mask, and should feel comfortable doing so. Schools and offices will continue to have additional masks available as needed. The federal requirement for masks on public transportation remains unchanged so anyone on a school bus will still be required to wear a mask.

Shifting to optional mask-wearing impacts a number of other areas and additional information will be shared with the community on Friday, Feb. 25 regarding these impacts.

“I am pleased that the Board of Education has voted to support the use of this ‘off-ramp.’ While the Superintendent had noted his intention to lift the mandate following the Maryland General Assembly committee’s vote on Friday, Feb. 25, we wanted to provide our community additional notice regarding this change.” stated Vicky Cutroneo, Board of Education Chair. “As we have seen a decline in cases and transmission in our county, and the optimistic community message from the Health Department this week regarding declining metrics, I believe this is the right time to make masks optional.”

“It is encouraging that nearly all metrics that our health department has used to inform COVID-related decisions have seen a decline for the first time in these last three months and I commend HCPSS students, staff and community for our collective efforts to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in our community,” stated Superintendent Dr. Michael J. Martirano.

“While masks will no longer be required in schools, every student and staff member should feel encouraged and supported to make the decision they feel most comfortable with,” he continued. “We will remind students and staff to practice civility and respect the choices of others when it comes to masking, and I seek the community’s support and collaboration in reinforcing and modeling this behavior for our children. System and school leaders will work to ensure the safety and well-being of our staff and students as we make this transition.”


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17th Annual Kensington Day of the Book Festival

Now in its 17th year, the Kensington Day of the Book Festival is a family-friendly street festival featuring 150+ renowned authors, poets, and literary organizations. Enjoy live music on five stages, special guest speakers, military veteran writers and comedians, poetry readings, cookbook demos, children's program, and much more.

Admission is free, and attendees will also be able to explore a marketplace of books and food offerings from local vendors.

Not your average book festival! This festival offers something for everyone!

17th Annual Kensington Day of the Book Festival

Sunday, April 21, 2024, 11am-4pm (held rain or shine!)

Howard Avenue, Kensington, MD 20895

Instagram: @kensingtonbookfestival

Contact: Elisenda Sola-Sole, Festival Director

[email protected]

301-949-9416 (text preferred)

FEST OF SPRING Caribbean Wine Food & Music Festival

Get ready to experience the vibrant colors, tantalizing flavors, and infectious rhythms of the Caribbean at the FEST OF SPRING Caribbean Wine Food & Music Festival! Hosted by RHU LLC, this exciting festival is set to take place on May 18, 2024, at the picturesque 16700 Barnesville Rd in Boyds, MD.

Step into a world where the Caribbean spirit comes alive! From 12:00 PM onwards, immerse yourself in a sensory journey that celebrates the unique culture, cuisine, and music of the Caribbean. Whether you're an African American, a Reggae or Soca music enthusiast, a wine lover, or part of the vibrant Caribbean diaspora, this festival promises to delight and captivate you in every way.

Let the enticing aromas of mouthwatering Caribbean dishes tantalize your taste buds. Feast on traditional delicacies prepared by expert chefs, showcasing the rich and diverse culinary heritage of the Caribbean. Indulge in flavorful jerk chicken, succulent seafood, and delectable plantain dishes that will transport you straight to the islands.

Accompanying the culinary extravaganza is a carefully curated selection of premium wines, ensuring the perfect pairing for your palate. Sip on fine wines from renowned vineyards, each sip a reflection of the Caribbean's vibrant spirit. Discover new flavors, expand your wine knowledge, and savor unforgettable moments with every glass.

As the sun sets, get ready to groove to the infectious rhythms of Caribbean music. Feel the pulsating beats of reggae, soca, dancehall, and calypso, moving your body to the lively melodies. Live performances by talented musicians and performers will keep the energy high, ensuring a night of unforgettable entertainment.

Don't miss this opportunity to embrace the Caribbean spirit and celebrate the arrival of spring in style! Tickets are available on AllEvents, so secure your spot today. Join us at the FEST OF SPRING Caribbean Wine Food & Music Festival, where cultures collide and unforgettable memories are made.



2 NIGHT Camping packages available: RV/CAMPER $200 | TENTS $150 Starting on Friday May 17 @ 5pm | 30 RV SPACES | 30+ TENT SPACES



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