Maryland Board of Education approves universal school mask mandate

A universal school mask mandate was passed by the Maryland Board of Education (MBE) with almost unanimous support on Thursday. 

The board held a special meeting to vote on whether or not to implement an emergency regulation mandating universal mask-wearing for schools in the state.

 

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Before being enacted, the emergency regulation will need to be approved by the General Assembly’s Joint committee on Administration, Executive and Legislative Review. The committee is led by Del. Samuel I. Rosenberg (D-Baltimore City) and Sen. Sarah K Elfreth (D-Anne Arundel).

Clarence Crawford, president of the MBE, shared his thoughts on the vote: 

“We have a commitment to return children and the staff to a safe environment where they could learn. And do everything we can possibly do to minimize the disruptions in class, out of class, virtual, hybrid, and do that in a way that our children will have an opportunity to learn and try to recover from this terrible experience of the pandemic. So for that reason, I also stand in favor of the regulation.”

Because of it’s emergency status, the mandate will be in effect for 180 days before its expiration. However the board will receive a report each month to see if the mandate is needed for the full 180 days. 

The call for a mask mandate comes as data suggests a new wave of infections is picking up steam in Maryland, in large part to the more virulent delta variant.