On Tuesday, the Maryland State Board of Education voted to remove the statewide school mask mandate starting on March 1. According to Fox 5, the vote passed 12 to 2.
Governor Larry Hogan called for the board to remove the mandate policy for school children earlier this month, citing progress in the state’s health metrics and the availability of vaccines for school-aged children.
The board responded to the request, stating that they would not immediately lift the mandate, rather delay it until the beginning of next month.
Following the vote, Hogan released a statement to Twitter thanking the board for their action.
"I want to thank the State Board of Education for heeding our call to rescind its school mask policy. This action aligns with the data and the science, the recommendation of the State Superintendent of Schools, and the guidance of medical professionals across the country," wrote Hogan.
"I also want to express my sincere appreciation to all the parents who have spoken out in recent weeks. At a time when Maryland has the lowest COVID-19 metrics in the country, this is a major step for normalcy and the well-being of our students," he continued.
"The General Assembly must now act swiftly to ratify the State Board’s decision."
According to Fox 5, decisions on masking will now be left up to individual school districts.
A number of states have recently dropped their school mask mandates, as COVID-19 metrics continue to progress after the omicron wave, and amidst protests from students and parents.
Massachusetts, Oregon, Connecticut, New Jersey, Virginia and Delaware, have all announced ends to their school mask mandates, amongst other states.
These changes come despite NIAID director and the Biden administration's chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci saying that removing these mandates too soon could be risky.
"It's understandable why people want to take masks off the kids. But, right now, given the level of activity that we have, it is risky," Fauci told CNN.
"Now we could get lucky, cause the trajectory right now is going way down and it very well may be that if you take masks off of kids in the next week or so, it's going to keep going down. But you have to be careful," Fauci added.
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