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Md. School Board to vote on statewide mask mandate for students

Vote scheduled for Thursday afternoon
Posted at 9:11 AM, Aug 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-25 13:58:58-04

BALTIMORE, Md. — Monday is the first day of school for many Maryland students and most school systems will require kids to wear masks.

Five school systems have yet to issue a mask mandate, but that could change if the State Board of Education issues a statewide mask mandate for schools.

It’s has been a source of confusion and frustration for both parents and students.

Recently, parents and students have demonstrated both for and against wearing masks in schools.

The Maryland Board of Education hopes to get rid of the confusion with a vote on a statewide mask mandate Thursday afternoon.

Right now, whether or not a student has to wear a mask in schools depends upon where they live and go to school.

So far, 19 out of Maryland's 24 public school systems have already stated students will be required to wear masks when they go back to school.

Complicating matters for some students and their parents is that three of those school systems with a mask mandate only require masks to be worn based on transmission rates; those counties are St. Mary’s, Washington, and Wicomico.

Transmission rates change from day to day, which makes it more confusing for kids in school.

Meanwhile, there are six Maryland public school systems still without a mask mandate; those counties are Carroll, Cecil , Dorchester, Somerset, and Worcester.

Since kids 11 years old and under have yet to be approved for vaccinations while the Delta variant continues to spread, many administrators want to avoid being forced to go back to virtual learning.

They're also concerned for students whose parents may prefer homeschool to protect their children in areas where masks are not required.

One parent who spoke at Tuesday's Maryland Board of Education meeting said “we are unnecessarily putting our young students at risk. Children under 12 have not been afforded the opportunity to be vaccinated yet. I have three of them. God willing in the next couple months, they will be but until that time we need to do everything in our power to protect them and allow them to go to school."

Parent Raven Bishop said "this board makes our schools follow OSHA guidelines and guidelines. Why on earth are we not following CDC guidelines during an actual plague."

“We are running out of time. Schools are opening soon and it is up to this board to leverage your power to keep our kids safe,” Bishop said.

The Maryland Board of Education is scheduled to vote on a statewide school mask mandate Thursday afternoon at 3 o'clock.