Skip to comments.Social distancing no substitute for mask-wearing in schools, Pa. health secretary says; schools must adjust, again
Posted on 08/18/2020 2:22:12 PM PDT by lightman
Desks sitting six feet apart will not allow students to skirt the universal mask or face shield mandate ordered by the state Department of Health, according to guidance that was issued on Monday to school officials.
Pennsylvanias Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said on Tuesday this guidance is a clarification, rather than a change, in rules that were sent out to schools in July that drew a lot of questions.
What we heard is some of the language isnt as clear as it could be so we wanted to make sure that we were as clear as possible, Levine said at a news conference at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Susquehanna Township. If [students] are in their classroom, even though they are six feet apart, they should be wearing their masks.
School officials and House Republicans, however, take a different view and see it as Big Spring School District Superintendent Richard Fry a pivot point.
For his western Cumberland County district, Fry said this latest guidance doesnt change the districts plans that include offering families a choice between face-to-face instruction, livestreamed classes or online courses offered through the Capital Area Online Learning Association. But he said it may cause some families to change the choice they pick.
Families getting this information late in the process, it may be something that causes them consternations, he said. We indicated all along that when our kids could be socially distanced, the mask could be down. But now they are going to have to be up.
Still, he said getting an order that changes the rules just a few weeks before schools in his district open is late in the game, but it doesnt pay us to get frustrated. Were going to just keep on plugging, he said.
A spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania School Boards Association agreed receiving state guidance so close to the beginning of the school year presents new challenges for school officials.
With respect to the latest update regarding face coverings, we feel confident school leaders will work to integrate this into their plans, but the shifting circumstances and changing recommendations makes it difficult for school leaders to plan for implementation and also to communicate to their respective school communities, said PSBA spokeswoman Annette Stevenson.
She added: Guidance at an earlier stage could have been more seamlessly incorporated, but if the health and well-being of the students, staff and communities is whats at stake, which it is, then we feel confident that school leaders will work to address this update along with others that may follow.
Until the Dear Colleague letter arrived via email on Monday afternoon from deputy education secretary Matt Stem, district officials say they were operating under the health departments mask guidance issued in July that states:
Students may remove face coverings when students are eating or drinking when spaced at least six feet apart; seated at desks or assigned workspaces at least six feet apartment, engaged in any activity at least six feet apart (e.G. face covering breaks, recess, etc.); or when wearing a face covering creates an unsafe condition in which to operate equipment or executive a task.
But the Dear Colleague letter notes that guidance will evolve as more data and research becomes available. It states that the American Academy of Pediatrics released an update last week recommending children age two and older should wear a face covering at all times to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Given this recent change from the AAP, and consistent with the Secretary of Healths Face Covering Order issued on July 1, 2020, [the Department of Health] is requiring students wear face covering at all times while in school, even when six feet of social distancing can be achieved. There are limited exceptions, states Stems letter.
House Republican spokesman Jason Gottesman offered sharp criticism of the health departments eleventh-hour change in the rules.
While children and educators should feel free to wear a mask if they feel it is appropriate for their own safety or the safety of others, the statewide unilateral mandate that students wear masks at all times while in school is another last-minute impediment to schools finalizing their reopening plans and goes against the principle of local control over school reopening that Gov. [Tom] Wolf has touted for months, he said in a statement.
He went on to say that school leaders have gone through painstaking measures to ensure social distancing in the classroom to comply with the July guidance they received from the state.
This late-coming statewide unilateral mandate was issued after some schools have already opened and throws unnecessary confusion into an already ongoing process, Gottesman said.
Mask wearing in schools, while regarded by public health experts as an important COVID-19 mitigation strategy, has influenced some parents to consider transferring their children out of their district schools. In fact, cyber charter school operators said it was one of the most often reasons parents cited as to why they were applying to enroll their child in one of their schools that have experienced an explosion in interest for the coming school year.
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Go away tranny.
Gee Dick, does the mask come with a matching ball gag and other S&M accessories?
imagine a disease SO DANGEROUS
that masks are not collected,
instead the children get staphlococcal infections
in their lungs.
of course, Tranny’s Mommy is protected from
this, while the other elderly are dead
... without accountability.
the childrens masks are removable for
Tranny’s predators if they agree to activity,
according his regs.
Dr. Levine has a college degree. That alone qualifies the good doctor to be a substitute teacher in Pennsylvania schools. So heres my challenge to Dr. Levine: Substitute for a week in a Pennsylvania urban high school. Try to enforce your mask policy.
If youre still alive at the end of that week Dr. Levine, let us know how it all went.
Depending on how long this goes on, these could be some terribly maladjusted youths.
Small homeschool groups should form, and use online instruction on occasion.
rachel’s background is running in beauty queen contests
and not infectious diseases.
let himherit go back to the contests.
Some kids probably should not wear those Masks.
Many of them barely know how to wipe their noses when they have the sniffles. A Mask will restrict their fresh air delivery even more. There are no easy answers that satisfy everybody. Not at this stage of the epidemic.
So the PA health chief is the ugly guy, right?
You gonna trust whats best for your children to a pervert with mental issues?
Simple solution to the pandemic,,,,Make HCQ and Azithromycin OTC drugs so anyone who develops a cough and/or fever can go the nearest drug store and self medicate with the drugs along with Zinc Sulfate with correct dosage within 48 hours of symptoms and pandemic over.,,,,,instead of waiting a few days to get tested and 5 days for the results,,,,if over 60 years of age,,,,youre dead.
That is the problem, it is no longer an epidemic. It is just an illness.
Don’t forget: Demonrats don’t want a cure; they want misery and destruction. Tearing down American Culture one city at a time.
Yes, and it’s talking about returning to “normal”. The irony is so thick a normal knife would not be able to cut it.
You vill put on your Dehumanizer and you vill LIKE it!!
This is what happens when the mentally ill are placed in positions or power.
Pennsylvania is a beautiful state....in the areas between Philly and Pittsburgh.
Unfortunately due to demographics of Philly and Pittsburgh, the entire state is subject to whims of the painfully stupid and insane.
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