Despite new CDC guidelines that allow people who are fully vaccinated to removal masks in most settings, indoors and outdoors, the Pottsgrove School District will continue to require that students and staff continue wearing masks through the end of the year, it was announced Sunday.
The reason behind the decision, to which there are exceptions for outdoor athletic activity, is that most K-12 students have not yet been vaccinated, according to a letter issued by Pottsgrove Superintendent William Shirk.
In the letter, Shirk cited guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Education:
“Because most K-12 students in Pennsylvania are not vaccinated and only a few weeks remain in the 2020-21 school year. PDE recommends school entities continue to follow their current mitigation strategies. Remaining consistent in approach will help to ensure the safety and well-being of school communities that may result from significant revisions to existing plans and systems.”
Shirk wrote that the decision came after Montgomery County Superintendents met with the Montgomery Count Department of Health.At the May 11 school board meeting, an adjustment to the district's mask-wearing policy was approved which provided the circumstances in which masks will not be required in school. They are:
- During outdoor recess, students may forgo wearing masks outside. However, all students must continue to wear masks walking to and from recess periods.
- All adults monitoring outdoor recess periods must continue to wear masks.
- Masks are still required for all indoor recess periods by students and staff members.
- Outdoor physical education classes are permitted to remove their masks during physical activities. Masks are to be worn walking to and from the buildings.
- Outdoor activities include but not limited to; recess, field days, intramurals, graduation ceremonies, and other outdoor activities where social distancing is applicable.
- During PIAA athletic practices and competitions, athletes do not need to wear masks while actively engaged in physical activity.
- All athletes and coaching staffs must wear masks on the sidelines; before, during, and after competitions.