By Adam Pagnucco.
The recovery plan for Maryland public schools stresses local flexibility within the parameters set by state officials. Over the last several weeks, school boards and superintendents made their own decisions about how and when to reopen public schools, after consultation with state and local health officials.
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.
I want to thank all the parents, students, and school administrators who have spoken out in recent days about this important issue.
The language of the governor’s amended executive order states at I.(e):
If a political subdivision determines that doing so is necessary and reasonable to save lives or prevent exposure to COVID-19, the political subdivision is hereby authorized to issue Orders that are more restrictive than this Order (“Local Orders”):
i. requiring any businesses, organizations, establishments, or facilities (except schools) to close or modify their operations; and/or
ii. requiring individuals to remain indoors or to refrain from congregating.