Unlike its Republican Governor. The Maryland State Board of Education wrote to Maryland Republican governor Hogan about his desire to remove masking for schools (boldface mine; leaving out the obligatory ‘Yes governor, you do have a Huge Swinging Cock’ boilerplate):
The Maryland State Board of Education is watching with optimism as Covid-19 metrics improve in the State. In fact, the State Board issued the current not-to-exceed 180-day face covering emergency regulation with off ramps during the Omicron surge, in anticipation of an improving environment in which face coverings would no longer be needed as we learn to live with the virus. As a transition to ultimately lifting the face covering requirement, these research-based off ramps allow local superintendents and school boards to unilaterally lift the requirement as follows:
1. A local board of education may lift the face covering requirement in a public meeting if at least 80 percent of the county population in the county where the schools are located is fully vaccinated, as reported by the Maryland Department of Health.
2. The local superintendent may lift the face covering requirement for a school facility or facilities after a principal or designated school official verifies that 80 percent of the school staff and students in the school facility have been fully vaccinated.
3. The local superintendent may lift the face covering requirement in schools if the county has sustained 14 consecutive days of moderate [1.3-7 new daily positives/100,000 people] or low transmission rate [<1.3 new daily positives/100,000 people] of COVID-19 cases, as reported by the CDC.
At each monthly meeting, the State Board reviews current COVID-19 metrics in the State to assess the need for the continuation of the regulation. Our commitment has not changed, and we look forward to reviewing the latest data and health guidance at the State Board meeting on February 22, 2022. As you know, the State Board has and continues to rely upon science, research, and guidance from public health experts, including the CDC and the Maryland Department of Health in its efforts to ensure schools remain safely open.
While I would like to see the vaccination requirements include boostering for adults, the school-level policies are too fine grained (families have students attending different schools), and there’s no explicit mention of ‘on-ramps’–would schools be able to reinstate masking if substantial or high transmission resumes (>7 new cases 100,000 people)?–at least they do have guidelines, unlike Governor Hogan, who seems to be following hunches, not actual reality.
And, yes, the superficial obsequiousness of the letter combined with multiple references to data and science do make it art.