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Tuesday, 22 February 2022 13:39

BOE Press Release - Letter to the President of the State Board of Education

Letter to the President of the State Board of Education

February 17, 2022

Mr. Clarence C. Crawford

President, Maryland State Board of Education

MSDE

200 West Baltimore Street

Baltimore, Maryland 20201-2595

Dear Board President Crawford:

I am writing on behalf of the Dorchester County Board of Education; we are urging the Maryland State Board of Education to reconsider their stance on masking for Maryland Public Schools. We are requesting that the Board immediately rescind the regulation requiring face coverings for all students in public schools, including the elimination of all three “off-ramps” and transfer this authority back to the local Boards of Education. Dorchester County Public Schools in conjunction with the Dorchester County Health Department had pre-agreed upon procedures for the 2021-2022 school year involving optional masking for students.

We have always been very thoughtful and deliberate in making data-driven decisions regarding COVID 19 to ensure the safety of our students and staff. In September 2020 Dorchester County Public Schools had students in buildings within 10 days of school starting and were moving to increase until COVID numbers would not allow. In 2021, while neighboring districts implemented more restrictions, we instead stayed the course and safely offered our students and their family’s opportunities that included continual afterschool tutoring sessions, holiday music presentations, senior class plays, graduations, and athletic events.

We have made every attempt to continue to move in a positive direction with our 2021-2022 school year. Presently, not one school or grade level have had to be cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19 this school year. We are extremely proud of this accomplishment. This pandemic has cost us all in many ways. We have come to appreciate the value of inclusion, face-to-face instruction, extra-curricular activities, afterschool tutoring, secondary athletics, and other activities more than ever.

These are important steps in helping to heal from the past two years. We are now seeing many factors, including declining local COVID-19 cases, which lead us to believe it is time to place this decision back into the hands of the local Board of Educations; however, the State regulation prevents us from responding in real-time. We believe that it makes logical sense at this point to transfer this decision back to each local district.

Sincerely,

Laura H. Layton

Laura H. Layton, President

Board of Education of Dorchester County