emergency order prohibiting Montgomery County from closing private schools this fall. The order, which applies to all counties, states that opening and closing decisions during the pandemic are to be made by local education authorities. Hogan's order asserts that private and parochial schools have the same authority to determine their ability to open, and that Montgomery County Health Officer Travis Gayles exceeded his authority in issuing his order late Friday evening.
"Over the last several weeks, school boards and superintendents made their own decisions about how and when to reopen public schools, after consultation with state and local health officials," Hogan wrote in a statement accompanying his emergency order. “Private and parochial schools deserve the same opportunity and flexibility to make reopening decisions based on public health guidelines. The blanket closure mandate imposed by Montgomery County was overly broad and inconsistent with the powers intended to be delegated to the county health officer."
After initially stating his opposition to Gayles' order over the weekend, Hogan has now taken action, entering what has become a contentious fight between private school parents and Montgomery County. The Republican governor, who has had to navigate a majority-blue state political sphere for two terms, is widely expected to be a candidate for president in 2024.