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Maryland State Education Association rips Hogan and his public pressure campaign

Posted at 11:38 AM, Jan 26, 2021

BALTIMORE — Hours before Governor Larry Hogan provided yet another update on the state's vaccination distribution plan, the Maryland State Education Association released a long letter in response to his last briefing, in which he publicly called out teachers unions, demanding they cooperate in efforts to return to in-person learning.

In the letter, MSEA President Cheryl Bost, claims that Hogan and Maryland State Superintendent Karen Salmon have refused to meet and hash out a plan for a safe return.

Bost disputed Hogan's assertions that she says,"paint educators as opponents and obstacles," by highlighting that 20 of 24 districts have already returned for at least some form of live instruction, a fact Hogan previously acknowledged.

RELATED: Hogan pressures schools on returning to classrooms, calls out teachers unions

Bost mentioned studies that found Maryland’s vaccine distribution to be one of the slowest in the country. WMAR-2 News recently reportedon one of those studies.

"Many educators are hearing at your press conferences that they can now get vaccines only to find no vaccine available to them in their counties," said Bost.

On Monday the state said it was entering Phase 1C of its vaccination plan, which includes educators. But in a press release, the Health Department admitted some could wait several weeks to get vaccinated due to far less supply than demand.

READ MORE: Maryland enters Phase 1C of vaccine distribution, any resident 65+ now eligible

Bost jumped on the Governor's comments last week in which he stated there is “no public health reason for county school boards to keep students out of school.”

She called the comments, "laughable if it were not so dangerous."

Bost went on to accuse Hogan of "scrubbing" state health metrics that show the positivity rate and cases per 100,000, which at one point was a major factor in the state's decision making process.

"You accused others of shifting goalposts, while you didn’t just move them, you now deny their existence," the letter reads.

Bost later touched on Hogan's mentioning of other jurisdictions throughout the nation who have withheld pay and revoked licenses of teachers refusing to return to classrooms.

"Not that this is a legally sustainable threat and not that this should be regarded as appropriate or motivating in the least. I have never, in all my years, heard of a single statement uttered by a state leader that caused more tears, more anxiety, and more frustration," Bost said in part.

In defending his position, last week Hogan and his team said remote learning has caused certain students to fall behind, with some even suffering from depression and anxiety symptoms.

As of Tuesday, Maryland providers have administered 75.9 percent of allocated first doses.

Hogan is expected to address the state at 2 p.m. to further update the status of vaccine distribution.

To see which vaccine phase your county is in, check out the new WMAR-2 News vaccine page.