Councilmember Hans Riemer is concerned schools are not being prioritized when it comes to Montgomery County’s reopening strategy.
“Yes small businesses are paying a price from covid, kids are paying a price from covid too,” Riemer said in an interview with MyMCMedia.
Montgomery County Public Schools has been offering virtual learning since March and will continue until at least Jan. 31. Riemer supports this move but also worries about the long-term effects of keeping students away from the classroom.
In a letter to county residents, Reimer explained why he was the only councilmember to vote against allowing permitted bars and restaurants to sell alcohol after 10 p.m.
“If late night socializing causes more viral spread, it will be harder and less safe for our teachers and families to reopen schools,” Riemer wrote.
Instead of continuing to open up the economy, Riemer says the county should focus on how schools can reopen safely as the coronavirus metrics improve.
Councilmember Riemer: Montgomery County's Reopening Efforts Should Prioritize Students | Montgomery Community Media https://t.co/Yf4HWBQafK
— Hans Riemer (@hansriemer) October 17, 2020
On Aug. 27, Governor Larry Hogan shocked county leaders by announcing schools could reopen safely, but Riemer says the state isn’t offering county’s enough support to make reopening schools possible.
“I think the state should be working with us on strategies to hold down the virus…how do you keep teachers safe, how do you teach students safe,” Riemer said.
Some Montgomery County private schools have already reopened for in-person learning. But Riemer is frustrated the state is not collecting contact tracing data from cases that arise in private schools.
As cases are rise around the country, Riemer is becoming less optimistic about public schools reopening in the winter. He is holding out hope for a vaccine, which he says, should be prioritized for students and teachers when it is made available.