Notes from Governor Larry Hogan’s Press Conference with State School Superintendent Karen Salmon Including Updated School Reopening Guidance
The notes below, from Governor Larry Hogan, have been paraphrased:
There is no public health reason for school boards to be keeping students out of school.
The science is clear and nearly everyone wants to get the kids back in school.
President Biden has made the reopening of schools one of his top priorities.
Dr. Fauci has said our default position should be to keep kids in schools or bring them back into schools.
School reopening do not contribute to community spread.
Our health metrics are beginning to show signs of plateauing.
In earlier stages of the pandemic it was a very tough decision for schools board’s to make, but now it’s clear that keeping students out of school is a far greater risk than bringing them back to school.
Today we are urgently calling on all county school systems to return to hybrid instruction no later than March 1 if not sooner.
We have taken the step of providing 2 million masks, hand sanitizer, etc. for schools.
Each school system has plans for vaccinating their staff.
These safe and effective vaccines have made returning to normalcy possible.
More than 1.2 billion in federal funds have been made available to every school system in the state.
The vast majority of Maryland teachers desperately want to get back into schools and I want to make it clear to the union that we expect the teachers to return to the classroom.
Chicago has cut off pay, South Carolina has threatened to take away teaching licenses for those who do not want to return. We don’t want to take that kind of action, but if school systems to begin to make an effort we will explore every legal avenue at our disposal.
By law the decision is up to the county school boards. I will do what I can do within the law to push to get the students back in the classroom.
State health officials are providing counties with additional protocols and educational design recommendations: Maryland School Reopening Guidance
Governor Hogan and Dr. Salmon have written to teachers union leaders asking them to aid in this effort: Letter
The notes below, from Dr. Chan, have been paraphrased:
New guidance for school reopenings based on experience from other states and counties.
Little evidence that school reopenings are a major driver in levels of community transmission.
Transmission in schools is relatively uncommon when there is effective implementation of mitigation strategies.
Maryland has had several schools open across the state with very few outbreaks.
Students under 10 are less likely to spread the virus.
Disruption of school meals, psychological and mental health services.
School reopenings should not be based on the availability of vaccinations or the levels of vaccinations.
Based on research and other considerations, more specific educational options.
The notes below, from Dr. Salmon, have been paraphrased:
Local school students should plan immediately for the return of students to in-person instruction by no later than March 1.
Parents and students who wish to remain in a fully virtual environment should be afforded the option to do so.