Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is preparing to implement an indoor face mask mandate at all public schools with an announcement expected on Tuesday afternoon.
PA State Rep. Russ Diamond (Lebanon County) informed his followers on social media of this development earlier today.
The governor’s anticipated action comes just a couple months after all COVID-related business and social restrictions were lifted in Pennsylvania. And it comes just a week into the 2021-22 school terms for many students, like those in Schuylkill County.
Locally, two county school districts, North Schuylkill and Schuylkill Haven Area, announced their own indoor mask mandate recently.
Wolf to Implement New Face Mask Mandate Inside All K-12 Schools in Pennsylvania
Wolf is doing this because his administration believes it’s an effective tool to stop the spread of the “Delta variant” of COVID in Pennsylvania. Prior to the start of school, his administration recommended schools implement a face mask mandate but most schools chose not to do that. Many did mandate that students and staff wear masks on school buses, but not in school buildings.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention categorizes Schuylkill County in a High rate of community transmission of COVID-19. When in a High transmission area, the CDC recommends indoor mask mandates for schools and businesses.
To be considered at a High transmission level, a county must have either or both of the following:
- 100+ cases of COVID-19 in the last 7 days per 100,000 people
- 10%+ Positivity rate on COVID tests
Over the last 7 days, there are 159.17 cases of COVID per 100,000 people locally, or a total of 225 new cases. Deaths linked to the virus remain minimal.
You can see by the CDC data above that while cases are increasing slightly, the numbers are far less than previous “spikes” in cases of the past.
COVID testing in Schuylkill County is now returning a 12.06% positivity rate. That’s among the 1,742 tests conducted over the last 7 days.