Frederick County Councilman Phil Dacey is calling on the Board of Education to issue a report outlining potential school reopening plans to the county by Dec. 10.

Dacey, a Republican, made that request in a resolution that still needs to be discussed by his colleagues, but he said on Monday that waiting too long before reopening is having a negative impact on students, especially those in younger grades.

In early October, the Board of Education voted, in a split decision, against motions that would have led to possible votes on whether to reopen schools under a hybrid model, based on proposals from Superintendent Terry Alban and staff.

Dacey knows his proposed resolution is not legally binding, but hopes it pushes current board members to have discussions about reopening. He added he would be supportive of some sort of phased-in approach for students coming back.

"For first- and second-graders, it’s been since March that they’ve been in a classroom setting … it’s virtually impossible to do virtual learning for some of those population segments," Dacey said. "Even for my kids, who are [in] sixth and fourth grade, it’s tough. They’re doing well, but they're not … getting the same education as my neighbors' kids, who are going to private schools."

The Board of Education is scheduled to discuss, and possibly vote, on reopening plans at its meeting Wednesday. Board President Brad Young said he appreciated Dacey's intent, but board members would make their decision as an independent body.

He still needed to review the resolution, as does Board Vice President Jay Mason. Young said he still supported partially reopening schools, a position he held roughly a month ago when the board voted.

"I certainly think he has the right to be interested," Young said. "He'll hear where the members are on Wednesday. He doesn’t need to get a report … that will be the report he needs."

Mason wrote in an email he and his colleagues are waiting to hear from Frederick County Public Schools staff on Wednesday about "clarifying questions" about the reopening plans.

Council President M.C. Keegan-Ayer (D) said the earliest the County Council would discuss Dacey's resolution is at its meeting on Nov. 17.

Keegan-Ayer said reopening decisions are up to the Board of Education, not the County Council. She said she was concerned about rising coronavirus metrics, especially as school systems statewide have started some reopening processes.

The County Council, County Executive Jan Gardner (D) and Dr. Barbara Brookmyer, the county's health officer, are meeting as the county's Board of Health Thursday where council members will be briefed on the coronavirus in Frederick County.

"I think he's getting a little ahead of himself," Keegan-Ayer said. "It’s not our role to push [the Board of Education], it’s their role to determine when the timing is correct to determine the schools opening."

"This would be no different than trying to tell the sheriff how to run his division, how to tell the state’s attorney how to run his division … [but] he can certainly express his concerns," Keegan-Ayer added about Dacey's request.

Follow Steve Bohnel on Twitter: @Steve_Bohnel

Steve Bohnel is the county government reporter for the Frederick News-Post. He can be reached at He graduated from Temple University, with a journalism degree in May 2017, and is a die-hard Everton F.C. fan.

(16) comments


Washington County Public Schools just announced two hours ago they are returning to all virtual mode instruction starting next Monday for the following three weeks.

These discussions are a waste of time and taxpayer's dollars.


But yet, here they are once again showing their cowardice.

In a pandemic in which 40% of people are asymptomatic, you cannot bring people together and especially not children.

I mean what kind of committee do we need to convene to figure out if water is wet?


Does everyone know that the FCPS school systems still has some operating schools WITHOUT walls between classrooms? Just retractable partitions. I keep on hearing FCPS cafeteria food service workers at different FCPS schools are coming down with COVID-19. And FCPS wants to entertain the thought of opening schools back up?????? This is a pipe dream. If not so ridiculous I would smile, but this is so dumb I am frowning and scratching my head.


'CThey’re doing well, but they're not … getting the same education as my neighbors' kids, who are going to private schools."' Private schools would accept your children as well.


Everyone, please keep the pressure up to keep kids from returning to school. The only way we keep our kids safe is to keep bad actors from forcing us into a bad spot.

PurplePickles aka L&M


The picture of Dacy doesn't it remind you of Michele Bachmann, you know with the crazy wild eye look? Every time I see him I think of her and we all know she is as crazy as a loon so....and most people tend not to follow loons off the cliff. I can't see most parents willingly following Dacy off the cliff with their children, but there will be a few.



I do find the wide-eyed stare pretty jarring to see.

I feel like this whole quest of his seems disingenuous at best. I hate when politicians play political games of chicken. All it does is leave their constituents covered in chicken****. I have zero tolerance for it and my GAF has completely run out.


Remember Howdy Doody? Probably not, unless you are really old. Just type “Howdy Doody” into your favorite Search Engine and see if you think there’s a resemblance.

PurplePickles aka L&M


Lol I’d forgotten about Howdy Dowdy but I am laughing because yes I see the resemblance... lol


A waste of newspaper space.


Dacy Continues his nature of being oblivious to the world around him. Does he not realize that a pandemic is raging and now he wants to know when the kids can go back to in-school classes. As a grandparent and a neighbor, why do we want to put our children back into harms way? It is time for the Dacys' of this world ,that their political leader created, Think about ways of keeping people safe. Some folks just are not helpful.


Mr. Dacey should probably pay more attention to the real data he gets to see as a council member and less attention to conservative media outlets. All the numbers in the state are headed entirely in the wrong direction for this.


Who died and put this guy in charge?? Tend to your own house Mr. Dacey! And just an aside, five Maryland counties (Allegany, Calvert, St. Mary’s, Charles, and Harford) announced a return to all virtual learning in the past two days, because of surging numbers.


It sure doesn’t seem that kids should be going back to school with the 2nd wave of COVID-19 getting worse by the day. Have there been any School Systems in the region that have reopened successfully? Rushing to get back to “normal” just prolongs the battle.


Davey should try to do his job before he tries to do the job of the Board of Education. If he wants to be a Board of Education member, he should run for that job. He is a political opportunist of the worst kind.


Not gonna happen. Harford County announced going all virtual. Anne Arundel County going all virtual and canceling all sports programs. Carroll County cutting back in-person schooling.

Frederick County a shining light of what is being done correctly since the pandemic started.

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