Montgomery County Health Officer Orders Private Schools To Remain Closed


MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — In hopes of further preventing the spread of COVID-19 when school comes back around in the fall, Montgomery County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles announced on July 31 that private schools will not be able to open their doors for in-person instruction until Oct. 1, at the soonest.

The order goes into effect on Aug. 3 and will be reevaluated when it gets closer to the set expiration date of Oct. 1. Anybody who knowingly and willfully violates the order will be subjected to up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have based our decisions on science and data,” Dr. Gayles said in a news release. “At this point, 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.”

Montgomery County Public Schools recently voted to begin the school year virtually, similarly to how many other jurisdictions have since moved.

According to data provided by the Maryland Department of Health, Montgomery County has seen the second-highest number of cases only behind Prince George’s County but has tested more people than any other jurisdiction. They also have recorded the most COVID-19 related deaths out of any other jurisdiction, with 750 fatalities.

Across Maryland, 1,019 new cases were added in the past 24 hours, bringing the statewide total of confirmed cases to 89,365 since the start of the pandemic. Of those total cases, 8,528 are people who are 19 years old or younger. There are currently 592 people hospitalized across the state with the virus.

“This [order] includes, but is not limited to all private pay schools, schools affiliated with religious institutions, or schools that are otherwise considered to be independent schools,” the release said.

Read the full release below:

This is still a developing story. We will provide updates periodically on any new developments.

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