One county in Maryland has chosen to reinstate its masking mandates for schools as the 2o22 school year kicks back off, claiming a need for it due to a recent increase in COVID infections as of late.
It was announced on Friday that Prince George’s County Public Schools would be making face maks mandatory once again for all schools and their corresponding facilities throughout the district.
This particular policy took effect officially this past Monday and is slated to stay in effect until further notice, as explained by the district.
Officials for the school expressed in a release that the mask mandate is going back into effect “in light of the highly contagious COVID-19 BA.5 variant,” and stated that the district is going along with the recommendations from the county health department.
“When responding to public health threats like COVID-19, Maryland school districts have flexibility to determine mask-wearing policies,” explained the district in its release, which was made public via a social media post.
“The mask policy is subject to change according to local and/or state health departments guidelines, and the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” stated the district.
As of this past Friday, the CDC has labeled the COVID community level for the county as high. Prince George’s County, which sits just under 20 miles outside of the nation’s capital, has roughly one million residents, the vast majority of which are black, and another 20% of whom are Latino. This particular school district is the second largest in the entire state and handles roughly 130,000 students via the use of a $2.3 billion annual budget.
Back in July, the district made the choice to take face masking down to optional throughout George’s County schools for the first time since the original inception of the pandemic, but this current decision seems to be a total reverse course on that idea.
Students are currently slated to head back into the classroom on August 29th.
This was allowed due to a February vote from the Maryland education department that resulted in the returning of power to local authorities regarding masking policies.
The department heard from community leaders, along with parents, passionately calling for the department to remove the masking mandates from the local schools.
“You are teaching our students to fear their teachers, fear their friends, and fear the air they breathe,” expressed one parent.
“Out kids suffer harm,” stated Jamie Brenna, a parent and known spokesperson for the group Moms for Liberty. Brenns went on to state that face masks can significantly exacerbate ADHD and cause even more negative effects such as “causing fear that if someone they love gets COVID it will somehow be their fault.” expressed the president of the education board in Caroline County, James A. Newcomb, Jr., in a letter addressed to the state board at that time.