MARYLAND, USA — Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said that when schools across the state open in the fall, students should not have to wear masks and social distancing should not be needed.
Hogan made the comments after touring the future Novavax headquarters Thursday morning in Gaithersburg.
“Every kid should be back in schools,” Hogan told CBS affiliate WJZ when asked what schools in Maryland should look like this upcoming fall.
The governor also emphasized that masks nor social distancing should be required for students in schools – as the coronavirus pandemic is nearly “extinguished” in Maryland.
For elementary school students who might not be eligible yet for the COVID-19 vaccine, Hogan said the positivity rate is just below 1% across those in that age range.
“We’re making tremendous progress, ahead of the country and, you know I think all schools should be open, but that’s not my determination – you know the local school and duly-elected school boards will make the final decision,” Hogan said.
The governor said, however, there will be some exceptions for some students who may be more vulnerable and who choose to stick with virtual learning for the upcoming fall semester.
Over the course of the pandemic, Hogan has been very vocal when it comes to reopening schools across the state of Maryland.
Back in February, the governor said during a news conference that everyone over the age of 5 will be required to wear masks in classrooms and any other “school setting where interaction with others is likely."
During the news conference, Hogan announced a new executive order that would've required masks to be worn in all Maryland classrooms, cafeterias, hallways, auditoriums, and gyms. In addition, the governor 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.
In a news conference in January, Hogan stated his desire to reopen all state schools as soon as possible 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."
Maryland is at its lowest positivity rate for COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.