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In this politically charged climate, societies have been split due to mask and vaccine mandates. The classroom has become a battleground for debates on public health and safety as parents and officials go to war for students. More debate is expected this upcoming Tuesday as the Maryland Board of Education will hold a virtual meeting to discuss mask requirements in schools.

It will be held at 1 P.M and will collect feedback from parents and the community. A public health expert is also expected to give testimony. The board voted to approve an emergency mask mandate earlier this year and state lawmakers can review the emergency regulation monthly, says Maryland Matters. They can rescind the requirements earlier than the typical 180-day mandate. Officials are also looking towards a December meeting where Board President Clarence Crawford says that the panel should make a “reasoned decision and approach as to how we should go forward.”

According to the Maryland Department of Health’s dashboard, there have been four confirmed COVID-related deaths in children aged 0 to 9. They’ve also reported seven confirmed COVID-related deaths in children 10-19. Students are given the option to study through virtual learning and while most students elected to return to the classroom, the state reports that 25,000 kids are enrolled in virtual learning.

211 students who chose to begin the school year in person have chosen to return to virtual learning.

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