Montgomery County shut its doors for in person instruction citing health risks from COVID-19, but it will allow some child care in schools where students will attend online classes at school buildings.
The Superintendent of the Montgomery County School District, Jack R. Smith, Ph.D., announced in a statement this July that classes would be virtual for the fall semester. Smith cited advice from Dr. Travis Gayles, a local county health officer, which recommended against in-person instruction.
The District sparked some outrage when it decided to allow a number of child-care providers that work within the school system to use school facilities where some students will attend school online— inside school buildings, according to The Washington Post. The number of students who will return in-person is still undisclosed.
I have issued an amended emergency order ensuring that local schools and school systems retain the primary authority to determine when to safely reopen their facilities. My full statement: pic.twitter.com/DGcF5EBxx6
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) August 3, 2020
Montgomery County and its Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles were featured in the news earlier this month when Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan overruled his order that private schools must close in the County. (RELATED: Positive Covid-19 Test Forces Two Alabama Schools To Go Virtual)
The District briefly mentioned in the same announcement that, “this decision to extend virtual instruction will significantly impact the work schedules of many parents in our county.” Smith also mentioned that the school would seek to keep some buildings open for “use by some child care providers.”
County officials defended the decision by citing a variety of additional measures which would be taken to make the in-person environment safe for these students, according to The Washington Post. The decision that some in-person care can take place is at odds with the District’s original position that it would be unsafe to bring students into school buildings.