ASTON, Pa. - The mask mandate is now in effect for all Pennsylvania public and private schools. It also applies to day cares and after-school programs. Masks have been a polarizing issue and many want to know what happens if the rules are broken.
A mom stretches a mask over her son’s face before he enters Aston Elementary School, a scene likely played out across the region as students return to in-person classes, masks on.
"I don’t really mind. It just hurts my ears a little bit," senior Jasmine Culin commented.
Culin is returning to Aston’s Sun Valley High as a senior, after years of studying on-line. She says she’s excited while her dad isn’t convinced of the need for masks.
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"What do you make of the mask mandate?" FOX 29’s Jeff Cole asked.
"We got to do what we got to do as parents. Rules are rules," replied dad John Culin.
The 3,000 students of the Penn-Delco District are returning to classrooms for the first time since the pandemic shuttered them in March 2020. They’re joining the 1.7 million K-12 students in the Commonwealth who learned late last month the governor wanted masks up.
"Yeah, you could argue we should have done it. Pennsylvania should have done it earlier. Pa. did not act as a state. I think the time is now," Governor Tom Wolf remarked last week.
Prompted by a rising COVID count, Wolf’s masking mandate sparked outrage in some districts.
Penn-Delco’s plan was to strongly recommend them.
"Has there been push back, reaction from parents?" Cole asked.
"Sure, I think every school district is grappling with how parents feel about masking and vaccines, but, again, we always follow health department recommendations," Lisa Palmarini, with the Penn-Delco district, answered.
While the district says the mandate was followed on day one, a parent did decline to speak with FOX 29, saying masks are a "hot button issue."
Jasmine Culin is okay with pulling it on.
"I’m just happy because I get to be near people again," Culin stated.