PHILADELPHIA - Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf will not be issuing a mask mandate when students return to the classroom this fall.
"Do you plan on introducing a mask mandate in schools like New Jersey?" FOX 29's Marcus Espinoza asked Wolf during a visit to a Philadelphia vaccination clinic Friday.
"No, I think the school districts in Pennsylvania have to decide what they want to do. I think the CDC guidelines is they strongly recommend that schools do that but they aren't mandating it and neither am I," Wolf replied. "I’m not so rigid that I’ll never change my mind so never say never but I mean I don’t see why we outta do something that the CDC is not. We’re following CDC guidelines."
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Staff members and students from kindergarten to 12th grade will be required to wear masks in New Jersey schools, regadless of their vaccination status, when the new year begins in a few weeks, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Friday as COVID-19 cases rise in the state.
During Friday's announcement, Murphy made it clear that New Jersey schools would still be reopening fully, as planned, for in-person instruction. He also cited the recent spread of the delta variant, inability to vaccinate students under 12, and vaccination rates among older students and their families as reasons for the mask mandate in schools.
"This is not an announcement that gives any of us, or me, pleasure," Murphy said Friday. "But as the school year approaches, and with the numbers rapidly increasing, it is the one that we need to make right now."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.