BALTMORE — In support of the Maryland State Board of Education’s mask mandate to combat the spread of COVID-19 the Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review (AELR) Committee on Tuesday approved the emergency regulation, which will be in effect for 180 days.
The emergency regulation requires any person inside a public school facility to wear a face covering, with certain exemptions in place. The vote was 10 to 7.
The order applies to Somerset County Public Schools, which earlier this month the Board of Education voted to be mask-optional.
“Our foremost priority as a Board is always the safety of everyone in our school buildings — we take the health and safety of students and school staff in every part of our state very seriously,” said State Board President Clarence C. Crawford. “Circumstances require the need for a universal, statewide approach to masking in schools to keep our school communities safe and give every one of Maryland’s students the opportunity to learn in-person with as few interruptions as possible.”
Somerset County Public Schools spokeswoman Victoria Miele stated that SCPS administration “has announced that effective Wednesday, September 15, 2021, all students, staff and outside visitors are required to wear masks while inside school buildings.”
Somerset, and Carroll County, were the only two out of the 24 local school systems that did not require face coverings inside schools. Local systems may establish and implement further masking policies and procedures in addition to the minimum requirements outlined in the emergency regulation.