ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Gov. Larry Hogan has stripped local public health officers of the power to decide whether local schools must close.
He issued an amended emergency order on Monday that will effectively ban counties from “blanket school closures” to, he says, allow private and parochial schools to have the power to keep schools open or move them online.
He said this is to ensure local schools and school systems will have the primary authority to determine when to safely reopen schools for in-person instruction.
Under an order issued April 5, local health departments continue to have the authority to close any individual facility deemed to be unsafe.
The governor said in a statement that the recovery plan for schools stresses “local flexibility within the parameters set by state officials,”
He said private and parochial schools deserve the same opportunity to make reopening decisions based on public health guidelines, calling the blanket closure mandate by Montgomery County, “overly broad”
Montgomery County has issued a directive that will keep private schools from holding-in person classes.
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“To be clear, Maryland’s recovery continues to be based on a flexible, community-based approach that follows science, not politics. As long as schools develop safe and detailed plans that follow CDC and state guidelines, they should be empowered to do what’s best for their community,” he added in the statement.