Philadelphia School District Reinstates Universal Masking For Students And Staff

HERE WE GO AGAIN – The School District of Philadelphia just announced that it will be reinstating its mask mandate for all students and staff due to the apparent 42% increase in COVID-19 cases compared to two weeks ago, according to the New York Times.

Most saw this coming, and are unsurprised that Philadelphia is the first district to bring back its dreaded COVID policies. As it was just April when Philadelphia reintroduced its indoor mask mandate – moving to a tier 2 “mask precaution” response level.

This newest mandate (which became active on Monday, May 23rd) requires students and staff to follow the district’s mask policy that was recommended by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

Per the announcement, “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.”

It goes on to advise that this mandate is to remain in place “until further notice.”

“To help protect everyone’s health and well-being as COVID-19 case counts continue to rise in the Philadelphia area, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) has recommended that we resume universal mask wearing,” the May 20 announcement reads.

The district superintendent later went on to say the district’s pandemic response “continues to evolve.”

This mandate will likely be met with more backlash than when it was originally introduced, as new studies have shown that parents are moving their children from public schools to alternatives in “more COVID-cautious” areas.

This is because parents and state representatives have been sounding the alarms over the masking of children for up to 8 hours per day. Arguing that universal masking poses far greater downsides for kids than the virus itself.

Regardless, the School District of Philadelphia is clear; they are taking the pandemic seriously. Focusing more on the spread of COVID-19 than other factors that affect a child’s education and ability to focus and learn.

This latest attempt to rein in COVID-19 infections comes as cases continue to rise across the U.S. and “trend at the highest levels seen since March” according to Market Watch.

Various reports show these cases are largely driven by the BA.2 variant of omicron, along with two other sub-variants that are said to be even more infectious.

The New York Times tracker estimates that the U.S. is averaging 108,065 cases a day, which is up 53% from two weeks ago.

New York City just raised its COVID alert to “high” last week, so Americans should expect more mandates like Philadelphia’s in the near future. Especially in blue states.

After all, President Biden did warn that “this pandemic isn’t over.”

It’s a shame that regardless of this spike in cases, public school students are the ones forced to bear the consequences more than anyone else in society thanks to unpopular mandates like these.

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