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The Carroll County Board of Education held a special meeting on August 30th to deal with the “Maryland State Board of Education passes proposed emergency regulation to require masks inside public schools“.

My expectation was that this would be pretty much a simple meeting to adjust the reopening plan to implement what was proposed at the state level. I even wrote yesterday:

“I can not image this meeting by the BOE is anything other than voting to comply with the “soon to be” state mandate for masking in schools this upcoming school year. If anything else comes out of this meeting I will let you know tomorrow.”

Wow, was I wrong. The full meeting lasted about a hour and a half and my big take away was that the Carroll County Board of Education was going to fight this statewide mandate to the bitter end. They will comply with the mask mandate only after the General Assembly approves it.

Here is the short version of what was approved on August 30th:

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Here is my “Speech to Text” conversion transcript of the motion by Board Member Sivigny voted on in this video (hopefully my conversation gets it correct):

We implement the mask mandate only after it is officially approved by the AELR, we anticipate that to be the next day which would be September 15th,

At the AELR hearing we request an exception for Carroll County based on our existing layered strategies, conditions and use of Technology,

Short of that, request local flexibility and when to remove the Mandate at the local level based on current and local conditions rather than a blanket 180 days,

We also request that the facilities impacted be changed to only facilities that house programs with students,

And we work with the parents of Carroll County students who are planning based on our vote of Parental Mask choice to make reasonable accommodations.

The final vote was 4 to 1 in favor on the motion.


If you would like to see the full video of the meeting and watch the entire discussion prior to the vote you can view it here:  CLICK HERE


Carroll County Delegate Haven Shoemaker (District 5) sits on the JOINT COMMITTEE ON ADMINISTRATIVE, EXECUTIVE & LEGISLATIVE REVIEW (AELR) committee and has already asked for a hearing on the matter. He said he has concerns about the process. (Learn More)

Here is the article from the Carroll County Times on the subject:  https://www.baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll/education/cc-ccps-special-meeting-20210830-c2kvsivixjhktnxteygj4tlile-story.html

I look forward to the discussion at the AELR committee on this topic. It could be quite interesting.

Scott E

3 COMMENTS

  1. Concerned new-to-CCPS parent of three here. My take on the 8/30 meeting was that it was basically a rant session with the school board members hyping their credentials. Fine. But, there were a few other noteworthy/concerning points sprinkled in:

    – First, the suggestion was made by Board Member Sivigny that wearing masks is detrimental to kids’ health. This is completely false. There are NUMEROUS scientific studies that unequivocally demonstrate that masks on children over 2 years old are helpful to the effort to protecting their health and others’ health against the spread of COVID-19. The Delta variant is infecting and sickening kids much more severely than the strain going around last school year, so last year’s argument about lower risk for kids no longer holds. If given the choice between illness, unknown long-term side effects and possibly death, or making my kid wear a mask, I’d rather err on the side of making my children wear a piece of cloth on their face for a few hours at a time (not 7 straight hours, as suggested by Board Member Sivigny). Kids find ALL manner of things uncomfortable (socks with seams, tags, jackets, etc.), but it’s our job, as parents, to be responsible and see that our children are dressed appropriately. Masks are just another appropriate piece of clothing right now.

    – Second, the issue of how to handle continuity of learning while quarantining when the inevitable outbreaks occur was touched on. As previously decided, there is no virtual program in Carroll County this year. There is a Home and Hospital care option designed as a short-term solution or for students with health or other issues that prevent in-person attendance. I personally cannot find where or how parents can apply for this program. (Or perhaps you have to be referred by the school?) There also is, or will be, a single coordinator for virtual learning at each school to assist with tutoring and helping children after school to keep up with assignments, which they are to access online. It is not clear how this will work for elementary children that don’t have laptops and/or reliable internet access. The capacity or student/teacher ratio for either program was also not discussed. Finally, neither of these programs address how to accommodate families that feel uncomfortable with individual school/classroom settings or circumstances.

    – Third, the benefit of consistency (in policy) was brought up several times – and ultimately dismissed. Despite their fighting stance, the Board predicts that the state-wide mask mandate will inevitably be passed. So, wouldn’t it be better to start the school year with everyone wearing masks instead of making them optional for ~5 days, then switching to required? Frequently changing the rules just sows more confusion and frustration, which raises stress levels, which no one needs. It also makes it difficult to trace, even anecdotally, how masks may or may not affect spread of the virus – no matter which side of the argument you are on.

    • That’s not how this works, of course. Community transmission is only mitigated by community prevention. A mask doesn’t effectively protect my child if the other 25 snot factories in her class aren’t masked.

      At this point, CCPS is basically implementing no COVID mitigations this year–no masks, no vax mandates (not even for staff), no social distancing (not even attempts). In fact, at “Back to School Night,” we were informed that CCPS administrators were instructed to configure classrooms and school life to “pre-pandemic” spec. As if there were no pandemic ripping through children right now.

      Reasonable disagreements about mask efficacy aside, I was extremely dismayed by the level of overt ignorance and disinformation on display by CCPS BoE members, who were touting such outright false gems as “masks are harmful for children’s health” and “kids can’t transmit COVID to adults.” Just…embarrassing.

      Anyway, the outcome of all this is going to be mass quarantines within a few weeks. Hope you enjoy your “freedom to choose” at that point.

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