Mask mandate for students, staff returns to School District of Philadelphia

The City of Philadelphia remains in the "medium" COVID community level spread, according to the CDC.

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Monday, May 23, 2022
Mask mandate returns to public schools in Philadelphia
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Masks are required once again in buildings and school buses for students and staff of the School District of Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Biden administration is planning for an anticipated wave of COVID-19 infections this fall and winter by ensuring both a new generation of vaccines and access to treatment and testing.

But White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha stressed Sunday the plan depends on congressional funding.

Meanwhile, COVID cases are rising in nearly every state, and it is prompting some schools in our area to bring back mandatory mask rules, including Philadelphia.

The School District of Philadelphia is now requiring all students and staff to wear their masks during the school and work day and while riding on school buses and vans.

That's according to a letter sent out by the district's superintendent, Dr. William Hite, attributing the decision to COVID-19 case counts rising in the Philadelphia area.

"To help protect everyone's health and well-being as COVID-19 case counts continue to rise in the Philadelphia area, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) has recommended that we resume universal mask wearing," the letter read.

SEE ALSO: Lower Merion schools change course, masking 'recommended' but not required

Some parents said they are all for it.

"He's vaxed, he's boosted, but still the kids that are vaxed and boosted are still coming down with it. So yeah I do feel safer with him wearing a mask," said parent Julie Malcarney of Fairmount.

"Given that both my kids had COVID and a number of their friends, I'm thrilled," said Amy Gross, who has two children in the district.

Others are not happy about the requirement.

"I think it's safe, but at the same time, it's risky because not all kids can breathe well and some of them might have asthma," said Richard Vicioso of North Philadelphia.

Last week, the CDC moved most of the Delaware Valley, including Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties, into the "high" community level of its COVID-19 data tracker.

Philadelphia remains in the "medium" COVID community level spread.

Due to the "high" community level status, Norristown and Cheltenham school districts in Montgomery County are requiring masks once again.

Schools in Abington and Lower Merion townships are strongly recommending them.

Just one community in our region, Cumberland County, New Jersey, is at the "low" level.