Maryland Governor’s order overrides Montgomery County plan to keep private schools closed

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan issued an order on Monday overriding a Montgomery County COVID-19 restriction that would close private schools until October.

The order restores autonomy to local schools and school systems to determine when they might reopen.

READ MORE: Montgomery County private schools won't reopen before October, official says

The order follows up critical comments about the move over the weekend.

The Republican governor wrote on Twitter Saturday he “strongly” disagrees with the order from Montgomery County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles.

Gayles wrote that the order will be reevaluated before Oct. 1 to determine whether it should be changed in any way.

Gayles says data doesn't suggest that in-person instruction is safe for students or teachers at this point.

READ MORE: Montgomery County exec attended live event later discovered not allowed under state restrictions

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich tweeted the following statement on Monday evening: 

"Our decision to restrict nonpublic schools from in-person instruction was made with one concern in mind – protecting the public health of our residents. It was not an easy decision. As we have done throughout this pandemic, we used data and science to guide us – not politics."

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot shared the following statement on the governor's order on Twitter Monday:

"I disagree with Gov. Hogan's decision here. If counties can decide when our public schools can re-open for on-site instruction, then why aren't they empowered to follow the science and exercise basic common sense on behalf of all students & teachers?

The top priority must be preserving public health - without which there will not be an economic recovery or a functioning education system. This is particularly true now that we can see that the COVID-19 disease is surging throughout the country at a truly alarming rate."

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The Office of Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese of Washington released the following statement Monday on Hogan's revised emergency order:

"The Archdiocese of Washington is grateful to learn of Governor Hogan’s Emergency Order to Prohibit Blanket School Closures that allows private and parochial schools the autonomy and flexibility to make reopening decisions in line with public health guidelines. We will continue to work with our educators and communities to ensure the safe re-opening of the schools of the Archdiocese of Washington and continue to place the health and wellbeing of our children at the forefront of our efforts."