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Schrader Says No Mask Mandates Yet For Schools

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State Health Secretary Dennis Schrader discussing vaccine rollout with senators Tuesday. Credit: MGA Livestream

Maryland’s State Health Secretary Dennis Schrader said the state will not impose new mask mandates for school systems.

Rather, he told Tom Hall on WYPR’s Midday, the state has issued recommendations based on CDC guidelines.

The CDC recommends universal indoor masking due to the Delta variant for all students and teachers in K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.

“People should be using the authorities they have at their disposal to do the right thing,” he said.

The CDC recommends universal indoor masking due to the Delta variant for all students and teachers in K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.

But masks are still optional in half of the state’s school systems.

“We want to respect the authority of our local institutions,” Schrader told Hall. “We give them the guidance, and we're gonna keep continuing to monitor and we're gonna let the numbers guide our decision making.”

Maryland’s positivity rate surpassed 5% Thursday for the first time since April, when the state still had an indoor mask mandate.

When asked whether there will be new vaccine mandates for workplaces, Schrader said that the state is “taking a step by step approach.” On Tuesday at a vaccine oversight meeting with senators, Schrader said that he expects employers to take the lead in driving up vaccination rates.

“Businesses have the authority under federal law to require their employees to be vaccinated. So they don't need any more authority to do that,” Schrader told Hall.

On Wednesday, Gov. Larry Hogan announced a vaccine mandate for all nursing home and hospital workers.