Saturday, August 1, 2020

Montgomery County prohibits private schools from opening through October 1

Sidwell Friends Lower School in
the Edgemoor neighborhood of Bethesda
Montgomery County Health Officer Travis Gayles issued an order prohibiting private schools in the county from opening through October 1, 2020. A statement from the County says Gayles will consider extending or terminating the order prior to October 1. Gayles said "the data does not suggest that in-person instruction is safe for students or teachers. We have seen increases in transmission rates for COVID-19 in the State of Maryland, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Virginia, particularly in younger age groups, and this step is necessary to protect the health and safety of Montgomery County residents.”

The order came as many parents with the financial means to do so were scrambling to transfer their children out of Montgomery County Public Schools into private schools for the Fall 2020 semester. MCPS has already announced it will not offer in-class instruction, continuing an all-online instruction method begun this spring. A number of MCPS student athletes were also counting on transfers to private schools in order to play sports, so that they can be considered by colleges for scholarships.

As such transfer plans are now possibly moot, some are suggesting the County's move was political, to discourage a mass exodus from MCPS. If MCPS loses a significant number of students, it will also lose funding in the future. Some also questioned the legality of the order, calling for a legal challenge.

A few critics of President Trump cheered the move on social media, noting that the order would prevent his own son, Barron Trump, from receiving the in-classroom instruction the president has advocated for the nation. Barron Trump attends St. Andrews Episcopal School in Potomac.

Montgomery County says that any private school official who knowingly disobeys the ban on in-class instruction will face a one-year jail term, or a $5000 fine, or both.

1 comment:

  1. I don't even have kids and I find this ridiculous! And of course the schadenfreude is strong with some.