Maryland Governor Larry Hogan issued an order on Monday overriding a Montgomery County COVID-19 restriction that would close private schools until October.
Governor Hogan issued an emergency order barring county officials from requiring private schools to close. Montgomery County’s order on Friday that the schools must stay closed was “overly broad and inconsistent with the powers intended to be delegated to the county health officer,” Hogan said a statement.
Public school districts were allowed to make their own decisions about whether to conduct in-person or online classes amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Private and parochial schools deserve the same opportunity and flexibility to make reopening decisions based on public health guidelines,” the governor said.
The Republican governor wrote on Twitter Saturday he “strongly” disagrees with the order from Montgomery County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles.
Gayles wrote that the order would be reevaluated before Oct. 1 to determine whether it should be changed in any way.
Gayles says data doesn’t suggest that in-person instruction is safe for students or teachers at this point.
Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich tweeted the following statement on Monday evening:
“Our decision to restrict nonpublic schools from in-person instruction was made with one concern in mind – protecting the public health of our residents. It was not an easy decision. As we have done throughout this pandemic, we used data and science to guide us – not politics.”
— Tom Fitzgerald (@FitzFox5DC) August 3, 2020