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Coronavirus in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Requiring Students to Wear Face Masks or Shields at School

School students in Pennsylvania will be required to wear face masks or face shields when the new term starts in August.

That’s according to new information from the Pennsylvania Dept. of Education on Monday.

Face Masks Required in Pennsylvania Schools

The face mask requirement in schools follows the July 1 order from Health Secretary Rachel Levine. In that updated order, Levine says face masks are now required pretty much anywhere in public by anyone over the age of 2.

This information from the Education Dept. simply extends that order to inside schools.

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The order to wear face masks in Pennsylvania schools includes the following settings:

  • Public K-12 schools
  • Brick-and-mortar schools
  • Cyber charter schools
  • Private and parochial schools
  • Career and Technical Centers
  • Intermediate Units

Face masks must also be worn at:

  • Boarding schools
  • Residential schools
  • Detention centers
  • Hospitals
  • Head Start
  • Preschool Early Intervention programs
  • Private Academic Nursery schools
  • All Pre-K activities

“For the safety of students, staff and families, and to avoid community spread of COVID-19, students and staff are considered to be members of the public who are congregating in indoor locations. As such, they are required to adhere to this Order,” the statement from the Education Dept. says.

Face masks in schools will be required until further notice, the state says.

Acceptable Masks in Pennsylvania Schools

This updated guidance doesn’t just include face masks. Face coverings, like a face shield, are acceptable. Whichever covering is used, it must cover the mouth and nose.

“A ‘face covering’ can be made of a variety of synthetic or natural fabrics, including cotton, silk, or linen, and, for the purposes of the order, can include a plastic face shield that covers the nose and mouth. ‘Face coverings’ may be factory-made, sewn by hand, or improvised from household items, including but not limited to, scarves, bandanas, t-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels,” the state says.

The state discourages students, teachers, and staffs at schools from using N95 masks.

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Removing a Face Mask in a Pennsylvania School

While masks are supposed to be worn all day at school, there are some times when masks needn’t be worn:

  • Eating and drinking (6 feet apart)
  • Seated at desks or work areas (6 feet apart)
  • Any activity where people are socially distanced

Health Reasons for Students Not Wearing a Face Mask

There are some medical exceptions to this updated face masks in schools rule. Per the Dept. of Education:

Any student who cannot wear a mask or face shield due to a medical condition, including those with respiratory issues that impede breathing, a mental health condition, or disability, and students who would be unable to remove a mask without assistance are not required to wear face coverings. Individuals who are communicating or seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing impaired or who has another disability, where the ability to see the mouth is essential to communication, are not required to wear a mask; however, individuals should consider using another type of face covering such as a plastic face shield.

Students don’t need to prove in any way that they have a medical condition that prevents them from safely wearing a face mask.

Student-Athletes Also Required to Wear Face Masks

The July 1 order plus Monday’s new announcement on required face masks in Pennsylvania schools applies to sports, too.

The DOE says student-athletes must wear face masks when they’re not actively in a game or practice.

The state clarifies, saying, “Athletes are not required to wear face coverings while actively engaged in workouts and competition that prevent the wearing of face coverings, but must wear face coverings when on the sidelines, in the dugout, etc. and anytime 6 feet of social distancing is not possible.”

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Change of Plans on Face Masks in Pennsylvania Schools

Even though many school districts have recently submitted Health and Safety plans for reopening for the 2020-2021 term, this updated guidance changes that considerably.

The mask order must be included in those plans, now. And school boards must now vote to approve the order that face masks be worn at school.


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  1. PTFloridians

    July 7, 2020 at 8:14 am

    Everybody has cooties now, huh…
    …”The Mask” ideology needs to shift somehow…what a mess.
    …the big problem, is that the government is involving itself.
    Immune systems in people, will be forever disrupted because of this nonsense, and the tiny particulates from those Chinese-made paper masks have begun to clog airways from overuse, just like coal dust (black lung) and flour/drywall dust (white lung)…it’s only a matter of time. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

    • Linda H

      July 7, 2020 at 9:36 am

      PTFloridians You are so correct! I just apprised a friend of mine about what is going on with simple plant pollen. For decades the carbon monoxide (and other pollutants) was/were curtailing the amount of pollen, in our air. Now the air is a less polluted, which is not a bad thing. However, humans are no longer accustomed to so much pollen. Allergies are at an all time high, even people who had no, or little issues, now are.
      If we do not start to mix and mingle w/o masks/filters, humans will actually begin to react to each other.
      To quote you “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction”.

      • PTFloridians

        July 7, 2020 at 8:28 pm

        Quite simply, our orifices were created to have built-in filters to trigger responses and protect our bodies from invaders.
        …For example, health class teaches us that “Nasal hair acts as a filtration system for your breathing passages. It collects foreign particles such as dust, pollen, and viruses, preventing them from entering your lungs and causing an infection” AND..
        …”Alveoli are tiny air sacs in your lungs that take up the oxygen you breathe in and keep your body going. Although they’re microscopic, alveoli are the workhorses of your respiratory system. … When you breathe in, the alveoli expand to take in oxygen”
        So, our lesson for today is that masks impede our body’s natural defense mechanisms and cause systemic damage moving forward.

  2. Linda H

    July 7, 2020 at 8:19 am

    They are f’in crazy. You have to wear a mask for cyber school??? Now the damn virus can come at you through a computer screen. But only during online school? WTF kind of Kool-Aid are they drinking?

    • coalregion12

      July 7, 2020 at 8:51 am

      How dare you question King Tom? He is all-knowing, all-seeing.
      Now the bigger problem will be enforcement of these “orders”.

    • Brooklyn

      July 7, 2020 at 9:46 am

      ALL these brain dead, indoctrinated, robots, believe the fake news about this SCAM-DEMIC.They’re all drinking the koolaid and following this control freak,socialist,scums orders. These idiots vote him into office and the rest of us have to pay the price cause these morons DON’T WAKE UP!

  3. Linda H

    July 7, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    I have been reading a lot of “regrets” from those who admit they voted Wolf for a second term. Maybe they will learn their lesson this time. Maybe? HA!
    am not sure it was not only those who voted for Wolf, it was those who felt like they did not agree with S. Wagner, and did not bother to vote.

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