MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — Gov. Larry Hogan is not happy with Montgomery County's decision to mandate private schools to go virtual-only during the fall semester and expressed such displeasure on his social media on Saturday.
"I strongly disagree with Montgomery County's decision to mandate the closure of private and parochial schools," Hogan tweeted Saturday, a day after Montgomery County announced the decision. "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. This is a decision for schools and parents, not politicians."
Montgomery County health officials said Friday that all nonpublic schools must remain closed for in-person instruction through Oct. 1, 2020. Montgomery County Public Schools had previously announced that they would offer virtual learning through Jan. 29, 2021.
Officials said that "nonpublic schools" are defined as any school in Montgomery County not affiliated with MCPS, including private schools, religious schools and independent schools.
“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have based our decisions on science and data,” County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles said. “At this point the data does not suggest that in-person instruction is safe for students or teachers."
As of July 31, Maryland has more than 88,000 cases of COVID-19 and 8,377 people under the age of 20 have tested positive for the virus. In Montgomery County specifically, there are 17,568 cases of COVID-19, and 750 people have died of the virus.
"We have seen increases in transmission rates for COVID-19 in the State of Maryland, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Virginia, particularly in younger age groups, and this step is necessary to protect the health and safety of Montgomery County residents," Gayles said.