Schools adjust to new Children's Hospital of Philadelphia guidance for handling COVID in schools

CHOP recommends universal masking, but has some new guidance for testing and quarantine.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia recently changed its COVID guidance for children in schools.

Under the new guidance, CHOP recommends universal masking in schools but drops asymptomatic testing for staff and students and lowers the quarantine length.

Across our region, schools in several states are adjusting to those guidelines.

During Monday's COVID briefing in New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy said he is working with the legislature to extend the school mask mandate set to expire Tuesday evening.

"Among other things keeping our kids in schools is critically important," said Murphy adding, "We're working very cooperatively with the legislative leadership to make sure we have a good pathway forward."

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As the raging omicron variant of COVID-19 infects workers across the nation, millions of those whose jobs don't provide paid sick days are having to choose between their health and their paycheck.

If the legislature does not come to an agreement, ultimately the governor has the power to enact a public health emergency to require masks in schools.

In Pennsylvania, as of January 1, the weekly case rates among children range from five to 17 years old, with the highest rates among sixteen to seventeen year olds.

Dr. Craig Shapiro, an infectious disease specialist at Nemours Children's Hospital Delaware, explained details in the rise in cases among kids.

"We are seeing more cases in children, but because we're seeing more people become infected. The cases aren't necessarily more severe but we're definitely seeing children especially children who are unvaccinated," said Shapiro.

Since Pennsylvania voters stripped Governor Tom Wolf of emergency powers, individual school districts have the final say on masks in the classroom.

The Philadelphia School District updates the list of schools forced to go virtual twice a day. As of right now, 94 schools are virtual.

The teacher's union wants virtual classes district-wide.
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