TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — Baltimore County schools will require all students, visitors, teachers and other staff to wear masks inside all buildings for the upcoming school year.

The teachers’ union welcomed the move. “This is what the science shows to keep everybody safe so we are ready to face the school year with masks,” Cindy Sexton, the president of TABCO told WJZ Investigator Mike  Hellgren.

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But there are worries about how it will be enforced.

“We have heard the concerns about the students who won’t wear their masks. There are also concerns that there are going to be adults who won’t wear their masks as well so compliance is going to be the key,” Sexton said.

Samantha Smith said her two children will have no problem masking up. “There are already a lot of parents online making threats about pulling kids out of school,” Smith said of the controversy the decision has caused among some parents.

She noted vaccination will be key to getting infections under control and praised school officials for making the masking decision early. “I think it does have to happen,” she said of masks in schools. “As parents, our kids are going to react the way we react.”

Baltimore County mother Kia Griffin believes masks are safer for her kids.

“I would feel more comfortable if the whole class had masks,” she told Hellgren.

Baltimore County’s superintendent wrote a letter to parents explaining the masking decision. He also advised that if a student tests positive, classmates will not have to quarantine unless they have not worn masks and have been less than three feet from the infected person.

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Schools in Baltimore City are also requiring masks. Parent Brittany Robinson does not agree with the policy.

“They want to take it off and breathe. They can’t breathe in the masks,” Robinson said.

“We’re not as concerned about the kids back in school. Obviously, the CDC had guidance. They weren’t requirements,” Governor Larry Hogan told WJZ Thursday. “But our local, duly elected school boards have the ability to make those decisions for themselves—as they have been all along. We’re just hoping everybody gets vaccinated, and we don’t have to worry about masks any more.”

It comes as the Delta variant is spreading, and the state reported 505 new infections Thursday.

“Going from almost none to 500 is concerning,” the governor said.

Maryland also reported administering more than 12,000 vaccine doses in the past 24 hours.

The Hogan Administration said Maryland ranks third nationally in the vaccination of 12 to 17 year olds with 57% getting the shot in the state. Currently, children younger than 12 cannot receive the vaccine.

Prince George’s, Montgomery and Frederick County public schools are also mandating masks for the coming school year.

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