Worcester County Commissioners Support End To School Mask Mandate

Worcester County Commissioners Support End To School Mask Mandate

SNOW HILL–  County officials urged the Maryland State Board of Education Monday to rescind the mask requirement for public schools.

On Monday, the Worcester County Commissioners sent a letter to the Maryland State Board of Education (MSBOE) expressing support for Gov. Larry Hogan’s call to end the mask requirement in public schools.

“Because Maryland now has one of the highest vaccination rates for adults and children, coupled with the lowest COVID-19 case rate in the nation, we recognize that it is critical to return normalcy to the classroom by no longer requiring students and faculty to wear masks,” the letter signed by Joe Mitrecic, president of the commissioners, reads. “This will re-establish an optimal learning environment for all school-age children.”

Last Thursday, Hogan wrote to the MSBOE applauding the board’s efforts to support in-person instruction but said it was now time to move toward normalcy for students by rescinding the masking policy adopted in Dec. 2021.

“We must all learn to live with this virus, not in fear of it,” he wrote.

Hogan cited the growing number of medical professionals and health officials now calling for the elimination of the temporary masking measures. He reiterated that message in an interview on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday, noting that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had created confusion with its delayed decision making.

“We were at the White House with all the governors, a week or so ago, and it is nearly universal, bipartisan support for moving forward and putting this thing behind us and not living in fear of the virus but finding a way to live with it…,” he said on CNN. “The kids have suffered so much, and I think the CDC will likely have to take action, but in the meantime, I believe our schools, our state Board of Education is going to act in the next week or so to move forward and take masks off the kids. We’re at the point now where kids are having a difficulty catching up and learning. We had all the closures, people working remotely, now working with masking. I think it’s safe enough for our kids to get back to normal.”

In their letter to the MSBOE, the commissioners expressed similar concerns.

“On behalf of the Worcester County Commissioners, I am writing to voice our strong support of Governor Larry Hogan’s request for the Maryland State Board of Education to rescind the mask requirement in Maryland public schools,” Mitrecic’s letter reads. “We recognize the wearing of masks during the height of the pandemic was a critical component in assuring that faculty, staff and students remained safe and school facilities remained open for in-person learning, which is critical to the academic and social success of our youth.”

The commissioners said that thanks to the bipartisan efforts of the MSBOE and other agencies, Maryland had seen a significant improvement in health metrics and no longer needed the mask requirement in schools.

The MSBOE is expected to review the mask mandate at its Feb. 22 meeting.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.