GOVERNOR URGES SCHOOLS BRING SOME STUDENTS BACK: Gov. Larry Hogan said on Thursday’s that the state’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic has progressed to a point at which schools can begin to have students return to the classroom for limited in-person instruction, Bryan Renbaum reports for Maryland Reporter.
- Hogan stopped just short of ordering all local school boards to develop plans to reopen schools this fall, but said that all 24 school districts meet a new set of state-created benchmarks that indicate it is safe to reopen for some in-person instruction, Pamela Wood, Emily Opilo and Liz Bowie report for the Sun.
- According to state data, Maryland’s overall positivity rate has been under 5% since June, Madeleine O’Neill writes for the Salisbury Times.
- The governor said he’s “not going to dictate” how schools should operate or when they should reopen, but he wanted to give systems more “a little more confidence that they can move forward” despite the lingering health crisis, Candice Spector reports for the Easton Star-Democrat.
- Hogan’s statement is a stark contrast to assertions by Montgomery County health officer Dr. Travis Gayles, who has said he does not believe it is safe for local school facilities to reopen in any capacity, Caitlynn Peetz reports for Bethesda Beat.
- In Frederick, a school board member said Hogan was “getting to the game a little bit late,” given the fact that school boards had developed and voted on reopening plans weeks ago, Steve Bohnel reports for the Frederick News-Post.
- While the governor cannot order schools to reopen in person, Hogan and Salmon said they are offering financial incentives from a $10 million grant pool to local jurisdictions that do so by the end of the first grading period, Bryan Sears reports for The Daily Record.
CITY SUSPENDS RECYCLING PICKUP: Baltimore’s Department of Public Works suspended recycling pickup throughout the city until at least Nov. 1, and is relying instead on recycling drop off points, Hallie Miller reports for the Sun. The city cited shortages of workers caused by an overwhelming demand for service due to the coronavirus pandemic and heat conditions as workers must wear masks.
- While residents understood the need to protect workers’ health, several raised concerns about what will happen to the city’s streets if trash piles up, and about recyclables ending up in the trash destined for an incinerator, Louis Krauss and Ian Round report for Baltimore Brew.
- The death of Department of Solid Works employee Donald Savoy on the job highlights some of the challenges on the job, though officials have not yet determined a cause of death, the staff of WJZ reports.
HOGAN DISTANCES HIMSELF FROM SEVERANCE DEAL: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Thursday he was “concerned” when he first learned that his new chief of staff had accepted a six-figure severance from his last job in public service, Pamela Wood reports for the Sun.
- He also said he was not aware of the hefty severance payment to former chief of staff Roy McGrath received from the Maryland Environmental Service to lead the governor’s team this spring, Bruce DePuyt reports for Maryland Matters.
MAYOR: FORT MCHENRY GOP CONVENTION VIOLATED CITY CORONAVIRUS RESTRICTIONS: The appearance of Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump at Fort McHenry violated the Baltimore mayor’s order limiting indoor and outdoor gatherings to no more than 25 people, Jeff Barker reports for the Sun. Mayor Jack Young, a Democrat, called it “the height of hypocrisy.”
LAWMAKERS QUESTION S. KOREA TEST USAGE: “State lawmakers are calling for an accounting of how 500,000 COVID-19 tests purchased from South Korea have been used during the ongoing pandemic,” Bryan Sears reports for The Daily Record.
PIMLICO MAKEOVER: Pimlico Race Course could serve as a community hub with multi-faceted entertainment options while still being a premier host of sporting events, advocates outlined in an hour-long discussion online revealing a new vision for the course, Ed Gunts reports for Baltimore Fishbowl.
WORKGROUP HEARS INPUT ON POLICE REFORM: A legislative work group spent hours Thursday discussing altering a decades-old state statute that gives officers protection when they are accused of wrongdoing, Jessica Anderson reports for the Sun.
HOGAN APPOINTS DELEGATE TO SENATE: Hogan has appointed Del. Paul Corderman to the Senate seat left vacant earlier this summer after Sen. Andrew Serafini resigned, Julie Greene reports for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail. Corderman’s late father, Judge John “Jack” Corderman, also served in the Maryland Senate.
- The appointment came less than 36 hours after the Washington County Republican Central Committee forwarded Corderman’s name to Hogan, Josh Kurtz writes for Maryland Matters.
USM REOPENINGS NOT CHANGED BY TOWSON DECISION: The University System of Maryland is staying the course on reopenings despite the decision by its second biggest school by student population, Towson University, to cancel in-person learning, Morgan Eichensehr reports for the Baltimore Business Journal.
- At Towson, students and parents are frustrated to be moving out, just days after they traveled to campus and moved in, Katie Kyros reports for WBFF.
COMMENTARY: FINANCING SCHOOL BOARD CAMPAIGNS: School board races should have public financing so they aren’t totally reliant on influential endorsements or unions, Adam Pagnucco blogs on Seventh State.
MD MAN CHARGED FOR SELLING CORONAVIRUS ‘CLEANING’ PRODUCTS: A Frederick man faces federal criminal charges after he allegedly sold unregistered pesticides in what a lawyer said was a legitimate attempt to create a cleaning product to fight the COVID-19 virus, Ryan Marshall reports for The Frederick News-Post.