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Maryland State Board Of Education Votes In Favor To Mandate Masks In Schools

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) -- A decision to mandate masks in all of Maryland's public schools.

As of now, only five counties in Maryland do not have a mask mandate in place.

The majority of Maryland's Board of Education was in favor of the emergency resolution that states masks will be required for the next 180 days, but the board said they plan to review and assess every month.

"It gives me peace of mind," said Tolu Dapo-Adeyemo, Charles County High School Student.

Tolu said he was worried about endangering his immunocompromised Mother when visiting friends at schools where masks are currently optional in Charles County.

"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 added.

On Thursday, the state Board of Education adopted an emergency regulation requiring masks to be worn in all public schools with the majority of the board voting in favor of it. There was one vote against it.

"I just believe that local control is better," said Former Senator Gail Bates.

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

The CDC says if students and staff wear masks, it cuts down on how many people need to quarantine if there is a positive case at school.

Its guidance is already being put to test in Frederick County where masks are required. About 600 students are currently in quarantine right now after 41 confirmed cases among students and staff.

"But they could be quarantining even more students on top of what they are quarantining," said Mohammed Choudhury, Superintendent, Maryland Board of Education.

Now, the mask mandate goes to the General Assembly's Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review.

Senate President Bill Ferguson said "the committee will work expeditiously to approve this emergency regulation" -- one he says has been necessary.

"Its sad that's even had to come all the way up here when these local boards had the first initial authority to make the common-sense choice," said Kevin Bokoum, Student Member, Maryland Board of Education.

"We all have a responsibility to keep each other safe and when other people refuse to fulfill that responsibility more drastic measures need to be taken," Tolu added.

It's unlikely to be in effect when school starts in some counties on Monday but could be in place soon after.


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