State Board of Education Approves Off Ramps for Masking in Schools

The State Board of Education voted to approve emergency regulations to allow for off-ramps for masking in school facilities. This morning, the State Board met virtually to consider a number of topics, with updates to the State's COVID-19 mitigation policies front-and-center. With only one member voting in opposition, the Board recommended a new set of emergency regulations that keep masks in schools, but provides several pathways for local education agencies (LEAs) to reverse the mandate.…

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Pandemic Spending Workgroup to Hear from Depts. of Human Services, Ag

Departments of Human Services and Agriculture to discuss relief programs; Child care advocates to share issues receiving critical federal, state aid. The Comptroller's Workgroup on Pandemic Spending will hold its fifth meeting on Wednesday, December 8, at 1:30 pm to continue its review of state and federal COVID-related spending. The Maryland State Child Care Association executive director and the owner of a Pasadena child care center will share the challenges they have faced receiving federal…

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Register Today: ARPA Usage Series with Esri and NACo

The National Association of Counties (NACo) and Esri are hosting a series of webinars on federal relief funding for the COVID-19 pandemic. Federal relief funding for the COVID-19 pandemic provides governments with an opportunity to invest in their communities and advance the use of technology. This webinar series will answer questions and provide tips to help align your local priorities with funding opportunities to strengthen your technological investments. Each webinar will highlight existing federal programs,…

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State Board of Education Asks MSDE to Create Emergency Regs with Off Ramps for Masking in Schools

The State School Board of Education voted to have the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) develop a new set of emergency regulations that would establish localized off ramps for masking in public school facilities. After a robust discussion, the State Board voted 12-2 today on a process to establish off ramps for its current masking mandate in school facilities. MSDE will now draft a new set of emergency regulations (with a 180 day cap) that includes considerations…

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Anne Arundel Gives $460K+ in Grants to Small Businesses to Increase Online Presence

The Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation (AAEDC) announced that it has given $460,800 in Digital Services Grants to 144 local businesses. The Digital Services Grant program was launched in September as part of of the County's COVID-19 economic recovery strategy. The program uses $500,000 that the state has set aside in American Recovery Act (ARPA) funds. Brick and mortar small businesses and nonprofits could apply for up to $10,000 to be used toward a variety of digital services, i.e.…

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Frederick Students Must Present Vax or Testing Records to Participate in Extracurriculars

Starting today, December 1, Frederick County public school students wishing to participate in extracurricular activities must present proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test. Frederick County Public Schools (FCPS) now requires students participating in an array of extracurricular activities to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID test. The Frederick County School Board narrowly passed the mitigation policy back in October. The Return to Play Committee explained the new rules: Who: Students taking…

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Montgomery Libraries to Hold Free Job Seeking and Entrepreneurship Couching and Workshops

Throughout the month of December, Montgomery County Public Libraries will host online workshops and one-on-one career coaching geared toward assisting job seekers and entrepreneurs. Every Monday in December from 9:30-11:30 a.m., the Montgomery County Public Library System will hold Helping Individuals Reach Employment (HIRE) for job seekers to meet virtually, one-on-one with career counselors. Register for a one-on-one career counseling session using the links below: Monday, Dec. 6 Monday, Dec. 13 Monday, Dec. 20 Monday, Dec. 27 Additionally, throughout the month…

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State to Consider Next Steps for Masks in Schools at Dec. 1 Meeting

On Wednesday, December 1, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) and State Board of Education (SBOE) will meet to discuss public input and next steps on masking in schools. The virtual meeting, which was announced earlier this week, is a follow-up to a November 16 meeting that featured public input and testimony from local education leaders and national public health leaders. Maryland’s current mask mandate requires masks to be worn in all public school facilities, a measure…

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Biden Administration Pushes Out ARPA Funds for Rural Health

On Tuesday, November 23rd, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) began distributing $7.5 billion in American Rescue Plan (ARP) Rural payments to providers and suppliers who serve rural Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Medicare beneficiaries. Maryland will receive $43,027,768.60 for 721 providers through HHS's Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra explained the necessity of this funding stream in a press release: “Health care providers in rural communities…

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Montgomery Adding More Rent Relief to Budget

Today, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich announced $48.5 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding, including rental assistance, will be included in Montgomery's Fiscal Year 2022 operating budget. Through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), Montgomery will be receiving $34 million in Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) 2 funds from the United States Department of the Treasury, $7.7 million for Por Nuestra Salud y Bienestar (Latino Health Initiative) and the African American Health Program (AAHP), and $6.8 million toward food…

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