Maryland public schools closed for remainder of 2019-20 school year due to COVID-19 outbreak

Governor Larry Hogan amends stay at home order, provides updates on recovery plan

Governor+Larry+Hogan+during+his+press+conference+earlier+today.+Hogan+provided+updates+on+Maryland%27s+COVID-19+recovery+program.

Photo courtesy Joe Andrucyk

Governor Larry Hogan during his press conference earlier today. Hogan provided updates on Maryland's COVID-19 recovery program.

By Anna Yuan

Schools

State Superintendent Karen Salmon announced in a May 6 press conference that all Maryland public schools, including MCPS, are now closed for the rest of the 2019-20 school year. MCPS has been closed since March 16 and teachers have been conducting distance learning since March 30.

In a letter to the community, MCPS Superintendent Jack Smith noted his support for Salmon’s decision.

“We strongly believe this is the right decision for the safety and well-being of Maryland students and their families,” he wrote. “While this news is not unexpected, it doesn’t diminish the sadness and disappointment that many of us are feeling because we won’t be together in schools to learn and work together; participate in athletic and arts events; and attend end-of-the-year celebrations and graduations.”

MCPS officials will provide additional information about the next phase of online learning, graduation and proms, among other topics, this upcoming weekend.

Senior Samantha Leventis said that though she’s been looking forward to events like prom and graduation for the past four years, she sees the importance in Salmon’s decision to close schools.

“I definitely recognize that it’s the right decision, but it’s still really upsetting,” she said.

Other

In the same press conference, Governor Larry Hogan announced an amended stay-at-home order: Beginning at 7am tomorrow, the list of allowed outdoor activities will include golf, tennis, boating, fishing and camping. State parks, including beaches, will also reopen for exercise. However, people must still practice physical distancing.

Hogan also provided updates on his “Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery” plan, which is built on four building blocks: expanding testing capacity, increasing the number of available hospital beds, increasing the supply of personal protective equipment and creating a robust contact tracing operation.

Regarding COVID-19 testing, Maryland officials have expanded testing capacity to cover outbreaks and hotspots. Additionally, officials have begun testing all nursing home residents and staff.

Hogan announced that Maryland has exceeded its goal in adding 6,000 extra hospital beds, having added 8,100 surge beds since mid-March.

Maryland has recently acquired 4.5 million KN95 masks, 600,000 N95 masks, 150,000 medical gowns, 1.1 million face shields and 3.5 million surgical gloves. Hogan launched the “Maryland Manufacturing Network Supplier Portal” which allows buyers, like hospitals and essential companies, to identify which suppliers have necessary PPE and other necessary equipment.

This morning, Hogan authorized a contract with the National Opinion Research Center, which will enable the state to its present disease investigation capability to contact up to 1,000 new cases per day.

 

For more information on the COVID-19 pandemic, please refer to these resources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

World Health Organization

Maryland Department of Health

Montgomery County Public Schools

Montgomery County Department of Disease Control and Epidemiology — 240-777-1755

Maryland Department of Health and Infectious diseases — 410-767-6700