Report: Montgomery County Health Official Bashed Private Schools For Wanting To Reopen

New emails reveal that a Montgomery County, Maryland, public health official bashed parents and teachers who requested the county reopen religious and nonpublic schools.  

In emails obtained by the Washington Examiner, Montgomery County Health Officer Trevor Gayles expressed to his colleagues his disdain for the county’s nonpublic schools and the parents who send their children to them. Gayle complained that the “privileged class of the county” were “showing their behinds” by requesting that their schools reopen when coronavirus cases were at 2.3 percent. 

Gayles received an email request from the husband of a public school teacher requesting that the department visit the Bullis School, a private school in the area, and explain what protocols the school must follow to provide in-person instruction. 

“I ask that your department of health visit Bullis,” the email reads. “Bullis has exceeded my expectations for the safety of my precious youngest child … At the very least could you please provide the specific criteria which you would need to see achieved in [Montgomery County] and the necessary protocols in the schools in order to provide the critical and essential in person learning.” 

Gayle forwarded the message to his colleagues with the comment, “The arrogance…” On Friday, July 31, Gayles announced that all schools — public, religious, charter, and private — would be closing in an attempt to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. In 24 hours, a Jewish school in Silver Spring, Maryland, the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, and other nonpublic schools were objecting to the order and preparing lawsuits.  

The Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney noted that nonpublic schools in the county “were mitigating risks precisely by being overly cautious.” A slew of schools worked with the National Health Institute (NIH) to create guidelines for safely reopening schools, though Carney alleged that Gayles never bothered to review the proposals. 

When asked about his email commentary during a press conference, Gayles said that they were taken out of context.

“Requests are able to take emails out of context and cast a light in terms of how you’d like to print your story … We stand by that guidance, and we stand by what we’ve put forward.” 

Gayles also came under fire in February after the Montgomery County Health Department announced that public school teachers, who were teaching remotely, would receive priority access to the COVID-19 vaccine over private school teachers who are teaching in-person. 

The Daily Wire reported

Public school teachers will be the first to receive the coronavirus vaccine through the county’s partnership with Johns Hopkins University and Suburban Hospital. Gayles added that the county is anticipating working with private schools, but plans are still “in the works.” 

“They also will be working with our school systems, starting with the public schools, to provide opportunities for vaccination for educators and teachers,” Gayle said. “[Vaccinations] will be a critical component to being able to bring kids back into the school setting, by offering additional protection for our educators and staff. We anticipate they will also be working with our nonpublic schools, and so all of those things are in the works.”  

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