Philadelphia reinstated mask mandates for all in-person learning beginning on Monday, just a month after their major flip-flopping on masks.
According to the district, masks will be required in school facilities and on school transportation.
A statement was released by William Hite, the superintendent of the Philadelphia School District, stating that the decision was reached in response to the spike in Covid cases and per the recommendation of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH).
He also stated that any positive Covid test must be reported to the school. “As we’ve learned since the pandemic began, the coronavirus continues to evolve and so too will our response to it.”
Covid cases continue rising across the U.S thanks to the BA.2 variant and two other subvariants that are reportedly even more infectious.
The U.S. is averaging 108,065 cases a day, up 53% from two weeks ago, according to a New York Times tracker. Cases are higher in nearly every state, but the Northeast and Midwest are being particularly hard hit with case reports in both regions now higher than they were at the peak of last summer’s delta surge. New York City raised its COVID alert to “high” last week, and the CDC warned that one-third of Americans are living in areas with medium to high transmission levels.
The CDC classified Philadelphia as a medium level of community Covid transmission.
The Philadelphia school district did not specify when the reinstated mask mandate would expire, asking students and staff to comply “until further notice.” There are only about three weeks left in the district’s school calendar year, so it’s unclear whether the mandate will last until then.
The country is averaging 24,728 hospitalizations a day, the tracker shows, up 30% from two weeks ago. The daily death toll has fallen to 309 on average, down 16% from two weeks ago.
The director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told officials gathered in Geneva for the opening of the WHO’s annual meeting that “declining testing and sequencing means we are blinding ourselves to the evolution of the virus.” He also noted that almost 1 billion people in lower-income countries still haven’t been vaccinated.
There are less than three weeks left in the school year and they’ve decided to force the face diaper back on the children? Make it make sense.
In February, several parents launched four different lawsuits against the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia area school districts wanting masks required in all school facilities. The Pennsylvania Circuit Court judge dismissed the lawsuits in March. Judge Thomas Ambro argued that falling case numbers “renders this matter moot” in a court order.
“As an extra layer of safety to keep our students and our staff safe as well of their families when they go home from school or work. We want to make sure to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 as much as possible,” Philadelphia School District spokesperson Monica Lewis said.
“One of the things we’ve learned is that we are never going to make a decision that everyone buys into 100% percent,” Lewis said. “We have those individuals who don’t believe that masks are helpful and we have those who do.”
Once again, these schools are taking away the parents’ and kids’ choices to make their own decisions. If you’re terrified of your child catching something, have them wear a mask. If you’re not, then don’t.
This is not something we should be forcing on kids with three weeks left in the school year.