The Maryland county where Barron’s school is located will continue to monitor coronavirus cases to determine how schools will move forward
Apparently, Barron Trump’s school didn’t get the message his dad has been screaming about regarding in-person learning this fall. The Maryland private school that Barron attends will remain closed through October 1, 2020, amid the coronavirus pandemic and students will continue to practice distance learning while the county continues to monitor outbreaks.
Montgomery County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles said his order to stay closed will be reevaluated before October 1st to determine whether the latter part of the school year will be in-person or continued distance learning. Barron Trump, who is entering his ninth-grade year on September 8, 2020, attends St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, a private school in Potomac, Maryland, which is part of Montgomery County.
“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have based our decisions on science and data,” Gayles said in a statement. “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.”
Trump has been extremely vocal about schools reopening for in-person learning, writing in all caps, “SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!” on Twitter a few weeks ago. He also threatened to cut off federal funding for schools that don’t fully reopen, saying in part, “The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!”
Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos ignored calls this week for the Trump administration to come forward with a national plan for school reopening, saying in part, “You know, there’s not a national superintendent nor should there be, therefore there’s not a national plan for reopening.” She and the administration, however, use their platform to demand in-person learning regardless of the number of coronavirus cases in a given county or any mandated mask policy to help keep students and staff safe.
While the Montgomery County Health Officer made his decision based on facts and science, not everyone in the area agrees with him. “I strongly disagree with Montgomery County’s decision to mandate the closure of private and parochial schools,” Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan wrote on Twitter. “As long as these schools develop safe plans that follow CDC and state guidelines, they should be empowered to do what’s best for their community. This is a decision for schools and parents, not politicians.”
Decisions will continue to be made at the county level, but if recent stories like the Georgia camp that was forced to close after 260 cases of COVID-19 surfaced in less than a week amongst campers and staff are any indication for what to expect during the 2020-2021 school year, the upcoming year is going to be a difficult one for all involved.