Students and staff will no longer be required to wear masks in Carroll County public schools and facilities, effective immediately.
Maryland’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review (AELR) rescinded the current mask mandate Friday afternoon, as recommended by the Maryland State Board of Education.
Brenda Bowers, communications coordinator for the school system, said making masks optional is “a significant change toward normalcy in our schools and facilities.”
Bowers noted that students and staff who wish to continue to wear face coverings “are encouraged to do so.”
“We understand that while some families will be happy to have their child attend school without a mask, some families will still want their child to wear a mask. Our expectation is that all students and staff respect the decisions that individual families and staff make as we transition through this time of masks being optional. As always, we want all our students and staff feeling comfortable with whatever their approach might be to masks in school and ask that those individual decisions are respected.”
Also, the federal requirement mandating masks on public transportation was dropped on by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday, so masks are optional on school buses.
COVID-19 case counts continue declining significantly at hospitals and schools in Carroll County, and more than 77% of the eligible population in Carroll County has been vaccinated.
Lifting of the mask mandate in schools comes after much pushback from the Carroll County Board of Education. During a Feb. 9 school board meeting, the board voted to authorize its legal counsel to file a legal action in Carroll County Circuit Court that took aim at the state school board’s December decision to require public school students and staff statewide to wear masks in schools until the end of the 2022 school year. The lawsuit was filed on Feb. 11.