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Barron Trump sucked in after Maryland governor overrides county directive closing private schools

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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued an “amended emergency order” Monday overriding a Montgomery County health official’s directive to keep private and parochial schools shuttered to in-person classes at least until Oct. 1.

On Friday, Montgomery County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles issued an order instructing independent, private, and parochial schools to remain shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic. In issuing the order, Gayles cited an increase in COVID-19 cases in the county, as well as nearby Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have based our decisions on science and data,” Gayles noted in a late Friday news release. “At this point the data does not suggest that in-person instruction is safe for students or teachers.”

The closure order affected all private and parochial schools in the D.C. area where lawmakers and others of status and wealth send their kids. That includes St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Potomac, Md., where 14-year-old Barron Trump was set to begin his freshman year Sept. 8.

The school was already planning to reopen at least partially to in-person instruction but also planned to provide off-campus instruction as well.

Hogan immediately disagreed with Gayles’ order, saying that schools themselves should be making the decision about whether and when to reopen.

On Monday, the Republican governor overrode Gayles’ order, “ensuring that local schools and school systems retain the primary authority to determine when to safely reopen their facilities,” he said in a tweet.

“The recovery plan for Maryland public schools stresses local flexibility within the parameters set by state officials,” Hogan said in an accompanying statement. “Over the last several weeks, school boards and superintendents made their own decisions about how and when to reopen public schools, after consultation with state and local health officials.

“Private and parochial schools deserve the same opportunity and flexibility to make reopening decisions based on public health guidelines,” he continued. “The blanket closure mandate imposed by Montgomery County was overly broad and inconsistent with the powers intended to be delegated to the county health officer.”

Hogan suggested that Gayles’ decision may have been political in nature — possibly in deference to public school unions since the Montgomery County Public School District is only providing virtual courses for at least the first semester.

“To be clear, Maryland’s recovery continues to be based on a flexible, community-based approach that follows science, not politics,” he continued. “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.”

Federal health officials have also said that reopening decisions should be made locally, The Associated Press noted.

“It is critically important for our public health to open schools this fall,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said in a statement.

President Donald Trump has been pushing for schools to reopen as well, citing data indicating that children are being harmed emotionally and educationally by being deprived of in-person learning.

Last month, he suggested the federal government may withhold funding to schools that failed to reopen.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1281554061972692994

Also last month, the country’s lead immunologist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, discussed the importance of sending kids back to school.

“It is very important to get children back to school for the unintended negative consequences that occur when we keep them out of school,” he said.

“The president has said unmistakably that he wants schools to open. And when he says open, he means open in full, kids being able to attend each and every day at their school,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEneny said July 16.

When asked about sending Barron back to school, Trump said he’s “comfortable” with it, USA Today reported.

Schools have successfully reopened throughout Europe and in Western-oriented countries.

Hogan’s decision was met with approval by several people online.

Others were angered by Hogan’s order, claiming that he was acting on behalf of Trump and not school-aged children. The Twitter mob lashed out at the president’s son, sending the hashtag “BarronFirst” trending.

**Warning: Strong language

Jon Dougherty

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