Gov. Larry Hogan Tweets that he ‘strongly disagrees’ with Montgomery County’s directive to close in-school instruction for private, parochial schools until Oct. 1 amid Covid-19 pandemic
Montgomery County announced Friday that “County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles directed non-public schools in Montgomery County to remain closed for in-person instruction through Oct. 1.
Gayles will re-evaluate the order before an Oct. 1 deadline, the county’s news release said.
The Health Officer Directive is effective immediately.
“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have based our decisions on science and data,” Gayles said.
“At this point, the data does not suggest that in-person instruction is safe for students or teachers.”
Nonpublic schools typically include private, parochial and religious-based schools.
Montgomery County Public Schools begins its fall semester with virtual, at-home learning.
Hogan Tweets Strong Disagreement
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) tweeted Saturday afternoon that he “strongly disagrees” with Montgomery County’s latest directive.
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
“As long as these schools develop safe plans that follow CDC and state guidelines they should be empowered to do what’s best for their community,” Hogan said in a statement.
Hogan said the schools and its parents should decide their own course of action for reopening – not politicians.
The governor and Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich (D) have long been at odds over a number of policy issues.
Hogan’s Latest Executive Order, Directive
Hogan issued a new executive order Wednesday that mandates facial masks to be “worn in the public spaces of all businesses across the state.”
The order extends to outside public spaces where social distancing is not possible.
In addition, the governor said the state will remain in phase two of its Covid-19 “Roadmap to Recovery” plan amid recent spikes in the number of regional coronavirus cases.
Maryland “put a pause” on entering phase three of its recovery, Hogan said Wednesday. The state remains in phase two until specific benchmarks are met.
Hogan’s Facebook page today touted two news articles that highlight his high approval ratings over his handling of Maryland’s coronavirus outbreak.
The governor is making the rounds on numerous cable news programs, elevating his national profile as chairman of the National Governor’s Association.
Hogan intimated in recent interviews that he may be interested in running for president in 2024.
Montgomery County’s Cautious Approach To Re-opening
Montgomery County has taken a cautious approach to reopen businesses, schools, gyms, and other public spaces in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Elrich has garnered praise for his handling of the coronavirus outbreak in Montgomery County – even among some of his harshest critics.
But a number of local parents blasted Gayles and Elrich on social media over the last 24 hours.
Some parents say the order goes too far and that it amounts to a massive overreach of government.
A person who knowingly and willfully violates the county’s order is guilty of a misdemeanor.
Violators could wind up in jail for a year and be forced to pay fine up to to $5,000, or both, the county’s release said.