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Maryland Schools Report More Than 10,000 Covid Cases Since Reopening In Person, State Board Will Revisit Mask Mandate In December

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Covid-19 has taken a toll on Maryland schools. The Maryland Department of Education revealed Tuesday there have been more than 10,000 cases among students and more than 1,800 cases among staff since classrooms reopened in person.

Almost 50,000 students have had to be quarantined.

In most public schools in Maryland, at least 80% of teachers are now vaccinated.

The state board of education's universal mask mandate drew controversy, and the board's president said they will revisit the issue in December.

"We'll build toward a reasoned decision and approach as to how we should go forward in the state of Maryland," said board president Clarence Crawford on Tuesday.

Right now, cases are trending downward in schools.

"I'm not going to let this stop my life or make me scared to live it because I only have one life and I want to live it to the fullest extent—even though I'm in a pandemic," said Mt. Royal 7th grader Zion Lyoriobhe, who spoke with her mother's permission. She said she is fully vaccinated. "There have been some covid cases in my school, which is a bit scary, but I honestly feel like we're starting to get over the hill."

Parent Gene Hull told Hellgren his child's school is doing a good job informing them of outbreaks "so we feel safe. Still, it is a bit nerve-wracking."

More than half a million students between ages five and 11 will be eligible to get vaccinated as early as next week in Maryland with federal approval.

Anne Arundel County is already making plans for clinics.

"What a game-changer this is assuming parents bring their kids to get vaccinated," said Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman.

Hellgren reports the county has 10,000 doses for the first wave of vaccinations and plans to hold their first community-based clinic on Nov. 5 and their first school-based clinic on Nov. 8 if they get the green light from the federal government. They are not releasing more information on those clinics until the federal government approves emergency use doses.

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