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Philadelphia Reinstates Mask Mandate For School Children

Photo by ERIC LALMAND/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images

Sarah Weaver Staff Writer
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The School District of Philadelphia reimposed a mask mandate in all K-12 schools Monday.

The decision was made at the recommendation of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, according to a Friday press release from the district.

“Starting this Monday, May 23, 2022 and until further notice, all School District students and staff will be required to wear their masks during the school and work day and while riding on school buses and vans,” the statement read.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention places counties surrounding Philadelphia at high risk, while Philadelphia remains at medium risk.

Back in March, a Pennsylvania circuit court judge dismissed lawsuits seeking to require masks in school facilities. Parents and students brought four different lawsuits against Pittsburgh and Philadelphia area school districts in February after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down the school mask mandate. They argued that lifting the mask mandate amounted to discrimination against those at high-risk for the virus. Judge Thomas Ambro argued that falling case numbers “renders this matter moot” in a court order.

Philadelphia brought back their indoor mask mandate for public spaces in April, only to reverse the decision less than a week later. Board of Health officials voted to rescind the mandate, citing, “decreasing hospitalizations and a leveling of case counts.”

With three weeks left in the school year, it is unclear if the mandate, which was reinstated “until further notice,” will last until the end of the semester.