As states continue to wrestle with the issue of opening public schools in the fall, one county took the steps to ensure no schools would open.
Earlier this week, the Montgomery County health officer issued a statement saying the county would be requiring all schools, including private and faith-based, to remain closed to in-person instruction until at least October 1st. Dr. Travis Gayles claimed all of the decisions were based on “science and data.” The move comes amid pressure from teachers unions to keep schools close while simultaneously preventing parents from seeking alternative options.
On Monday, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan issued a statement saying he vehemently disagrees with the Montgomery county decision and said he would immediately sign an executive order giving reopening decisions and authority to individual schools, district by district.
Hogan explained that while public school boards have had the privilege of making their decisions regarding school reopenings, “private and parochial schools deserve the same opportunity and flexibility to make reopening decisions based on public health guidelines.” He went on to suggest that Montgomery county officials had overstepped the boundaries of their authority and the issue has begun to revolve around politics instead of science.
The “science and data” undoubtedly and clearly reflects the notion that COVID is effecting some regions very differently than others. Even county to county, factors like median age, population and geography can result in vastly different COVID cases. It only makes sense to allow individual schools who feel they can safely serve students to take reopening matters into their own hands. Parents can decide for themselves if they feel safe to return or not.
It is hard not to conclude that Montgomery County is playing politics and trying to hobble an exploding alternative schooling market brought on by none other than the teachers unions themselves.
— Corey A. DeAngelis (@DeAngelisCorey) August 3, 2020