LOCAL Maryland Statement on Gov. Hogan’s Decision to Ban Localities from Closing Schools

On Monday, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan stripped local governments’ authority to issue blanket closures of schools, following his disagreement with a Montgomery County decision to close private and parochial schools. His revised emergency order continues to allow localities to order closures or modifications at businesses and organizations, but it now excludes schools from that authority.

The following is a statement from Shawn McIntosh, who leads the efforts of LOCAL (Let Our Communities Act Locally) Maryland:

“Our coalition is disappointed with Gov. Hogan’s decision to revoke the authority of local governments to issue blanket closures of schools within the state. We feel that excluding schools from his emergency order is inconsistent with his other directives during this COVID-19 pandemic and does not protect the ability of Maryland’s localities to govern their citizens in a manner that suits them best.

Montgomery County has made the decision to mandate the closure of private and parochial schools. That is a decision that is optimal for the county and how they believe they can best protect the health and safety of their students, which should always be the paramount concern, but specifically during this COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone in our state is entitled to that right.”

LOCAL Maryland is a coalition of advocacy organizations committed to protecting the health, the environment and economic wellbeing of Maryland citizens. It works to ensure that local governments have the ability to pass laws that meet the needs of their residents.