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Howard County parents, students rally to end mask mandate in county schools

Howard County parents, students rally to end mask mandate in county schools
Posted at 9:43 PM, Feb 10, 2022

HOWARD COUNTY, Md. — Parents and students in Howard County held a rally Thursday outside of the Board of Education meeting as they called for an end to the mask mandate in schools.

Dan Stotler and his daughter Rebekah were among the group demanding the board to drop the mandate

They believe the district should give them the choice on if they want to wear the mask or not.

“As a parent, it’s tough when this is the only place our child has to wear a mask,” Stotler said. “All through the state of Maryland, the mandate has been lifted. Essentially, the only place kids are wearing masks our in school.”

“I just want the choice to be able to not wear it if I want to but support the people who think that’s what’s right for them,” said Rebekah.

Maggie Pierce has young two kids in Howard County. She said them being forced to wear masks is affecting their ability to learn.

“For me personally, my kids are suffering in a mask,” she said. “We’re two years [into the pandemic], like Hogan said, we have to learn to live with this virus and not be in fear of it.”

MORE: Gov. Hogan calls on Maryland Board of Education to lift school mask mandates

In December, the state board of education voted for what were called off ramps, which would allow districts to end its mandate if they met certain criteria. One of them was a vaccination rate of 80 percent or higher.

Currently, the vaccination rate in the county is 85 percent.

However, the board has decided to keep the mandate in place until the county has 14 consecutive days of moderate or low transmission rates.

Maryland Delegate Reid Novotny, who joined the rally, said he supports parents who want their kids to wear a mask, but he said at the very least parents should have the option to choose.

“Kids are not dying at the same rates as old people are,” he said. “I want the Board of Education to listen to the parents and give them the choice to send their kids with or without a mask it’s that simple.”