MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — Nonpublic schools are allowed to reopen in Montgomery County after officials announced Friday they would be lifting a recent health order.
County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gaylesn rescinded the August 5 health order that barred nonpublic schools from opening for in-person instruction until after October 1. According to a release from the county, the new decision was made in part from Maryland's new decision to prevent counties from blanket school closures.
The emergency order, amended by Gov. Larry Hogan on August 3, effectively banned counties from “blanket school closures” and allowed private and parochial schools to have the power to keep schools open or move them online.
The new August 7 order goes into effect immediately.
Just two days later, on August 5, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said there was no logic to Hogan’s decision to file an executive order to override the county’s decision to keep in-person learning closed for all schools until October 1.
"The health officer continues to strongly advise schools against in-person learning due to the risks posed by COVID-19 and has asked that the Department of Health provide articulable criteria to be used in determining acceptable and safe levels of activity in schools," Friday's release reads.
"I continue to strongly believe that based on the current state of surveillance and epidemiological data, it is neither safe nor in the interest of public health for any school to return for in-person learning this fall," Montgomery County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles wrote in the order.
"Nonpublic schools" were defined as any school in Montgomery County not affiliated with MCPS, including private schools, religious schools, and independent schools. Child care programs are excluded from the definition of nonpublic schools.
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