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Maryland Lawmakers Schedule Hearing To Ratify School Mask Mandate

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Classes at Pimlico Middle School start on Monday. Masks here are mandatory, but there are still five counties where they're optional.

On Thursday, the state school board passed an emergency regulation requiring masks in all public schools, but that doesn't mean the regulation goes into effect quite yet.

"We have, as a central responsibility, the responsibility of educating and caring for all of the students in the state of Maryland," said Clarence Crawford, president of the Maryland State Board of Education.

The regulation still needs to go to a regulatory review committee. They meet on Sept. 14, and the committee's co-chairman said he's confident they'll approve it so it can become a new law of the state.

The hearing will be virtual, but there will be public participation.

"We will take a vote on the regulation. It's in the best interest of our children, our teachers, our staff, and schools, and then the regulation would take effect," said committee co-chairman Del. Sandy Rosenberg of Baltimore.

With this new mandate, Tolu Dapo-Adeyemo, a Charles County high school student, said he won't have to worry about endangering his immunocompromised mother when visiting friends at schools where masks are currently optional.

"I don't feel hesitant about having to go see them or about wanting to go see them. I can just drive down whenever and know that we've all been required to be safe," he said.

But others feel differently.

"Let the parents decide, not school boards," Sandy Moser said.

As many students head back to school Monday, members of the regulatory review committee look to Gov. Larry Hogan to declare an immediate adoption of the regulations.

"He can take action using his emergency powers that he sought for the pandemic," Rosenberg said.

WJZ has reached out to Hogan's office asking whether he intends to adopt these regulations immediately, but has not heard back.


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