Yesterday, the Maryland State Board of Education voted to circumvent the rights of local jurisdictions and implement an emergency regulation that would authorize them to mandate masks for all Maryland students and staff during the 2021-2022 school year.While the CDC recommended masking in schools for all students and staff this year, Governor Hogan said he would not issue a statewide mask mandate and preferred to leave those decisions up to local districts. The law supports this. Of the 24 jurisdictions in Maryland, all but five Maryland counties chose to implement mask policies for the coming school year.Unsatisfied that all counties didn’t implement a mask requirement, Senate President Bill Ferguson sent a letter signed by 32 senators to the Maryland State Board of Education encouraging them to exercise their authority to impose universal masking requirements in Maryland schools under an emergency regulation. Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Mohammed Choudhurry also signaled support of this measure.Upon receipt of that letter, the Maryland State Board of Education called for an impromptu meeting on August 26th at 3PM where all but one member voted in favor of an emergency regulation to implement universal masking in Maryland schools. The official emergency regulation can be viewed here.The final step requires the Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review (AELR) to approve the emergency regulation proposal. They meet on September 14th, unless Governor Hogan approves the AELR Committee’s request for the ten day waiting period to be waived before then. The regulation cannot go into effect under law until the AELR approves the measure. Minority Leader Jason Buckel, Delegate Haven Shoemaker, Delegate Jay Jacobs, and Delegate Susan McComad are House Republican representatives on the AELR Committee and have publicly announced their concern with the State Board of Education’s “usurpation of local control in mandating masking for students across Maryland.”There is still time for you to voice your opposition to this measure!
Why ICM Opposes Statewide School Mask Mandates
- This motion by the State Board of Education circumvents the rights of individual jurisdictions to preside over their territory
- The use of medical face masks in community settings produces no statistically significant effect in reducing the rate of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
- Prevention measures used for adults do not necessarily convey benefit to children, and may confer unique harms; data shows children have better outcomes from Covid-19 infections and are at incredibly low statistical risk of serious complications or death from Covid infection.
- Further, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, secondary transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in schools is extremely low. Children are at very low risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2, per The Lancet. The BMJ notes, children do not transmit SARS-CoV-2 through asymptomatic infection.
- Masking in schools does not protect families at home. Adults living with children have no increased risk of serious outcomes from Covid-19 compared to adults not living with children.
- Constant masking only reduces the risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2 at best by a .09 to .6 odds ratio. “Therefore, the strength of evidence for mask use and risk for SARS-CoV-2 in community settings remained insufficient,” according to the Annals of Internal Medicine.
- A compilation of data published in the International Journal of Environment Research and Public Health shows extended use of masks causes numerous adverse effects to both psychological and physical health.
- Parents retain the right under law to decide which healthcare interventions and prevention measures are best for their children
Who to contact about THIS MANDATE
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Please spread the word! Let’s flood the offices of Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review members with polite, respectful, forceful emails and phone calls. They need to hear our voices!