State Board of Education Votes to Lift Mask Mandate, Legislative Committee to Make Final Decision

At the February 22 meeting of the State Board of Education, the board voted 12-2 to lift the current regulations requiring masks in school facilities.

During the February 22 deliberations, Maryland state school Superintendent Mohammed Choudhury recommended that school mask policies become a local decision. “Where we are it is the right time to bring it back to local control,” Choudhury said.

Current guidelines, which were approved on January 5, require a default of requiring masks unless counties meet certain guidelines in vaccination and transmission rates that would allow them to “off-ramp” masking. Montgomery, Howard and Frederick counties can go mask optional based on those off-ramp guidelines. Just last week, Anne Arundel County was the first jurisdiction to lift its school mask rules after meeting off-ramp guidelines.

The decision comes after the governor urged the state board to lift the rules as COVID-19 cases continue to drop in the state.

The state board’s recommendation will now be considered by the General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review (AELR) Committee.

The February 22 meeting agenda and materials are available online and video is available on the the Maryland Department of Education’s YouTube channel.

Prior Conduit Street coverage on masking in schools: