PHILADELPHIA - The School District of Philadelphia said it will move ahead with its plan to make masks optional for students and staff on Wednesday.
In a letter to families shared a week ago, Superintendent William Hite Jr. wrote that masks will be optional for students and faculty starting Mar. 9 if COVID-19 metrics continue to decline.
Masks will still be required for students and staff in the district's Pre-K Head Start programs per U.S. Department of Health and Human Services guidelines.
The district said it is still prioritizing its health and safety guidelines meaning that students should stay home if they feel sick and test for COVID-19 if they exhibit symptoms.
"Because our case counts are so low, and dropping, we feel that it’s safe enough for people to go unmasked indoors, including in schools," Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole said.
To prevent a possible surge in COVID-19 cases after spring break, the district will make masks required from Apr. 18-22.
Superintendent Hite said Tuesday that the district will move ahead with its plan to make masks optional after getting the green light from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.
The move comes a week after Philadelphia dropped its indoor mask mandate after moving the into the ‘All Clear’ COVID-19 tier.
"We haven’t seen a rise in cases in Philadelphia since we stopped enforcing the broader indoor mask mandate, nor have we seen a rise in cases in other jurisdictions that have dropped their school mask mandate," Bettigole added.
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