January 22, 2021

Governor Hogan Press Conference: January 21, 2021

“There is no public health reason for school boards to be keeping students out of schools. None.” — Governor Larry Hogan

 

  • Urgently calling on all jurisdictions to make immediate efforts to return to hybrid, in-person instruction no later than March 1.
  • President Biden issued an executive order supporting the safe reopening of schools.
  • Data from contact tracing and epidemiologists indicate that school reopenings do not result in increased community spread or increased hospitalization rates.
  • Health metrics are beginning to show evidence of plateauing since the introduction of vaccines.
    This month, the positivity rate has dropped almost 20% to 7.66%; case rate dropped by 26% and hospitalizations declined by 13%.
  • Cumulative learning loss by end of school year could equate to 5-9 months on average, with losses disproportionately impacting students of color, low income and disadvantaged students impacted even more.
  • PPE provided and unlimited testing has been made available to every county. Based on recommendations by America’s leading medical experts, Maryland is prioritizing vaccinations for teachers and staff.
  • Hogan stated that they fully expect teachers to make every effort to return to the classroom. Other areas in the country are threatening to stop pay or take away licenses from those who do not return. If school systems do not immediately begin a full-faith effort, Hogan says they will explore legal avenues.
  • Transmission in schools has been shown to be relatively uncommon with effective implementation of mitigation strategies including distancing, masks and cleaning.
  • Evidence shows that kids younger than 10 are less likely to spread the virus.
  • More specific guidance is being provided, including two options:
    1. Maryland Department of Health Recommended: Daily, in-person learning for students with disabilities, special learning needs, those with difficulties via remote learning or career-technology paths
      • Elementary – phased-in, daily, in-person learning or hybrid learning
      • Secondary – hybrid or phased-in, daily, in-person learning
    2. Continued daily in-person learning for those with unique educational needs
      • Hybrid or phased-in learning for elementary and
      • remote or phased-in hybrid learning for secondary
  • Both include continued recommendations for quarantine, contact tracing, identification of cases and outbreaks.
  • Provisions will be set forth for parents to decide whether or not a remote option is most appropriate.

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