Philadelphia school district reinstates mask requirement

A rise in COVID-19 cases in the Northeast prompted the Philadelphia School District's decision
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Kindergartners in face masks
Kindergartners in face masks
MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

The Schools District of Philadelphia announced that beginning this week students and staff must once again don COVID-19  masks in classrooms. The move was prompted by a general rise in virus case numbers across the country, and especially concentrated in the Northeast.

The district made the announcementFriday, citing the rise in case numbers and a recommendation from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health for universal mask-wearing. 

Masks will be required at all times on school campuses and while traveling to-and-from schools in buses and vans.

"As we’ve learned since the pandemic began, the coronavirus continues to evolve and so too will our response to it," said Superintendent Willian Hite. "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."

The return of the mask requirement for Pennsylvania's largest school district followed the announcement last week that some neighboring districts would also require masks again. Though several of those districts have instituted strong recommendations for mask usage, as opposed to requirements. 

The current 14-day average of daily reported coronavirus cases in Philadelphia is 2,851, up from 1,722 one month prior. The city's school district flirted with the idea of brining back the mandate in mid-April, but ended the effort except for children who are not yet eligible for a vaccine.