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Lawmakers leave student masking up to school districts

Allison Shelley/Alliance for Excellent Education/Flickr

The General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review voted 17-1 Friday to allow Maryland school systems to decide whether or not to end their mask mandates.

The decision marks the approval of the State Board of Education's Tuesday vote.

The committee heard testimony from more than ten members of the public before voting; most urged them to vote in favor of ending a statewide school mask mandate.

Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes, a Democrat who represents Dorchester and Wicomico Counties, said pleas from a mother influenced her lone nay vote.

“She referenced her disabled child and wanting to make sure that they are able to attend school,” let’s make sure we put these words in her mouth Sample-Hughes said. “So at this juncture, my decision is no. I came to this meeting with a different mindset, but certainly this is where I am at this time.”

Baltimore City Del. Brooke Lierman, who voted to end the mandate, said individual school districts should remain open-minded and stay vigilant “I certainly hope that our local school districts moving forward will be guided by public health and it's refreshing to see things moving in the right direction in Maryland,” she said.

The decision goes into effect immediately.

Callan Tansill-Suddath is a State House Reporter for WYPR, where she covers the General Assembly.