“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have based our decisions on science and data,” Montgomery County Health Officer Travis 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.”
St. Andrew’s school administrators have stated a desire to start the school year in early September, on-time and with in-person learning for the staff and students, according to a letter sent to parents last month and seen by CNN. However, the school noted a final decision was to be made the week of August 10.
St. Andrew’s faculty and staff have since May been preparing for in-person, combination in-person and virtual, and fully virtual learning scenarios for all of the student body. St. Andrew’s has 645 students in its student body, and tuition for the upper school is approximately $45,000 a year.
CNN has reached out to St. Andrew’s and the White House for comment on the new order preventing private schools from in-person learning until October.
And at a Thursday news conference, the President reiterated his desire for schools to reopen with in-person learning as quickly as possible.
“Indefinite school closures will inflict lasting harm to our nation’s children,” Trump said. “We must follow the science, get students safely back to school while protecting children, teachers, staff and family.”
Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who has been a vocal critic of Trump on several matters pertaining to coronavirus and the federal response, disagreed with the Montgomery County directive, saying in a statement that the decision for private and parochial schools to open in-person or virtually should not be determined by politicians.
Gayles in his order cited rising coronavirus cases in Maryland as part of the reason for the October 1 decision.
This story has been updated with a statement from Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.