The School District of Philadelphia will require students and staff to once again wear face masks starting next week, citing an increase in COVID-19 infections.
The district made the announcement in a press release Friday afternoon, saying that the Philadelphia Department of Public Health made the recommendation for universal mask-wearing. Masking will be mandatory “until further notice,” the district said.
Mask wearing will be required at all times on campus and while riding on school buses and vans.
“As we’ve learned since the pandemic began, the coronavirus continues to evolve and so too will our response to it. As we work together to minimize the spread, please remember that our Health and Safety Protocols are still in effect, including the importance of notifying the District if you test positive for COVID-19,” Superintendent William Hite said in a statement.
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The mask requirement for Philadelphia public schools follows the announcement earlier in the week that the Cheltenham and Lower Merion school districts in neighboring Montgomery County will also require masks again. Lower Merion later changed its policy to a strong recommendation.
Also Friday in Montgomery County, the Abington School District announced it too will bring back mandatory masking, but on Sunday walked it back to "strongly recommended." The Wissahickon School District, meanwhile, will be “strongly recommending” masks in all buildings.