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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.
Montgomery County's Health Officer directs private and independent schools remain closed to in-person instruction until October 1st.
— Kate Ryan (@KateRyanWTOP) July 31, 2020
“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.
I strongly disagree with Montgomery County’s decision to mandate the closure of private and parochial schools. My full statement: pic.twitter.com/4pESSu93Tj
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) August 1, 2020
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.
I have issued an amended emergency order ensuring that local schools and school systems retain the primary authority to determine when to safely reopen their facilities. My full statement: pic.twitter.com/DGcF5EBxx6
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) August 3, 2020
“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.
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.
Dr. Fauci: “It is very important to get children back to school for the unintended negative consequences that occur when we keep them out of school.”pic.twitter.com/CewpxPNFze
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) July 10, 2020
“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.
— Varad Mehta (@varadmehta) August 3, 2020
I’m impressed, tbh. Hogan is making the right decision here concerning private and parochial schools. https://t.co/PYygB16hVV
— kaitlin, RINO oatmeal raisin cookie (@thefactualprep) August 3, 2020
GP Hogan is doing the right thing here. Good for him, particularly as to near-communist and practically godless MoCo. https://t.co/17D8DGs0np
— The Gormogons (@Gormogons) August 3, 2020
Democrat and union leadership ass duly kicked. https://t.co/MndeyJ9lRV
— Nathan Wurtzel (@NathanWurtzel) August 3, 2020
Thank you @GovLarryHogan! This is real leadership and the hardworking parents that sacrifice for our kids are so grateful.
— Ashley E. McGuire (@AshMcG) August 3, 2020
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
— MichaelRapaport (@MichaelRapaport) August 3, 2020
We have no opinion whatsoever about Barron Trump, and neither should you. But there are times when Donald Trump’s behavior with regard to Barron becomes relevant to the political discourse. Donald drove that home with one of his most ignorant tweets yet:https://t.co/hKdnm51d1h
— Palmer Report (@PalmerReport) August 4, 2020
Look, if he feels he can talk about EVERY KID IN AMERICA then his kid does not get an exception to the discussion.
— TrafficJam&Toast (@TrafficjamT) August 4, 2020
Hey Don, put Barron on a bus and send him to a public school…
Then tell us to open the schools.
(PS: Barron is your 5th kid with your 3rd wife)
— Amish PornStar™ (@AmishPornStar1) August 4, 2020
You’re a fucking idiot. Send Barron first. Then we’ll talk.
— Holly Figueroa O’Reilly (@AynRandPaulRyan) August 4, 2020
This is ridiculous. Not only is it unsafe for students, teachers, & staff, but there will be a mass exodus from MCPS to private (unprepared) schools, then MCPS won’t have the resources to accommodate those same kids when they try to come back once MCPS is back in the classroom.
— Rose Velez-Miggins (@doorBellaRose) August 3, 2020
SEND BARRON FIRST
LET US KNOW HOW IT GOES pic.twitter.com/TjMTU7Hpoj
— Brown Eyed Susan (@smc429) August 4, 2020
#MAGA supporters, so you agree with opening the schools for your kids to attend during a pandemic unprotected? And agree your cult leader’s kids (& Barron) not attend and get protected?
Because it’s all a hoax right? Gone by April??
You can’t answer that can you? pic.twitter.com/j4gCx0mCQH
— Nick (@Nick08511565) August 4, 2020
WHY ISNT BARRON GOING TO SCHOOL, HYPOCRITE??? https://t.co/ElhjUO9GD1
— John Aravosis 🇺🇸🇬🇷🏳️🌈 (@aravosis) August 4, 2020
Let Barron and your grandkids be the guinea pigs
— Baligubadle (@Baligubadle1) August 4, 2020
Barron lookin at all these “send Barron 1st” tweets knowing he prolly gonna get sent 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/DD5Jb2pkb8
— Scott (@professor__gray) August 4, 2020
My students will go to their school when Barron goes to HIS school. https://t.co/fkmmtHZcfc
— Health4AllAmerica (@Health4AllAmer) August 4, 2020
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