Some Maryland colleges and schools are requiring that students, faculty, staff or a combination of the three have the Covid-19 vaccine before the 2021-22 school year begins in the Fall.
Howard County Public School System is the latest Maryland school district to announce that all employees will be required to provide proof of full vaccination or undergo regular Covid-19 testing for the upcoming school year.
“We know that vaccines and masking are our best tools in confronting this pandemic. As a community, it is our responsibility to keep students safe by taking these precautions, and I feel strongly that this is another important measure to help keep our schools open," said Michael Martirano, superintendent for the Howard County Public School System, in the announcement last Thursday.
Baltimore City's mask mandate was reinstated last Monday on August 9 following the CDC's recommendation that both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals wear a mask indoors in areas of substantial or high transmission of the virus. Baltimore City is in the substantial risk category which is determined by either new cases per 100,000 residents in the last seven days or the percentage of coronavirus tests that come back positive; the higher category determines transmission level.
Maryland has over 3.5 million people fully vaccinated and saw a steady decrease in Covid-19 cases since the start of 2021; however, now 13 counties in Maryland have a high rate of transmission and 11 have substantial rates of transmission of coronavirus.
“I’m speaking to you not just as the Health Commissioner but as a mother of a child that is too young to be vaccinated. We have the ability to slow the spread COVID-19 and the actions we all take collectively will protect the most vulnerable among us," said Baltimore City's Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa in a news release.
Howard County is not the only school district in Maryland requiring vaccinations for the Fall, several colleges in the state including the University of Maryland's 12 schools, Morgan State University and Frostburg State University are also requiring students, faculty and staff to all be vaccinated in the Fall.
Howard County is the first school district in the state to require vaccination or regular testing for employees, in line with the Maryland State Department of Education’s direction that in-person instruction be provided every day throughout the 2021-22 school year.
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