ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Everyone over the age of five will be required to wear masks in classrooms and any other “school setting where interaction with others is likely,” according to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.
During a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Hogan announced a new executive order that will require masks to be worn in all Maryland classrooms, cafeterias, hallways, auditoriums and gyms.
"I'm looking forward to visiting school systems all across the state in the coming weeks to thank all the teachers, staff and administrators who are working so hard to get our kids back in the classrooms," Hogan said.
Read the governor's executive order on masks in classrooms in full below:
The governor has been vocal when it comes to reopening schools across the state of Maryland. Earlier this month, Hogan promised rapid COVID-19 tests and an “unlimited supply” of PPE for Maryland schools in order for school districts to safely bring back students and staff.
Back in a news conference on Jan. 21, Hogan made his desire to reopen all state schools as soon as possible crystal clear when addressing the pandemic's effect on education.
"I’m here today to talk about the terrible learning loss caused by the disruption of the pandemic and why it’s so critical we work to get all students back to classrooms," Hogan said during the Jan. 21 news conference. "This really isn't controversial. The science is clear."
The governor called on all county school systems to return to hybrid in-person instruction no later than March 1. He noted that all school systems in Maryland have been authorized to reopen for in-person instruction since August.
"Many of the school systems in Maryland have been successful in getting at least some of their students back in the classroom, especially those kids with special needs," Hogan said on Jan. 21.
Hogan reiterated during the Jan. 21 news conference that reopening schools was not only a top priority of the state of Maryland but for the Biden administration -- as the president signed a new executive order supporting the safe reopening of schools.
In a letter to the president of the Maryland State Education Association, Cheryl Bost, Hogan cited data from Dr. Fauci, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Maryland Coronavirus Task Force to back up his claims.
"The president’s chief medical advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has said that '[t]he default position we should have is to bring the children back to school or keep them in school,'" Hogan wrote in his letter to Bost.