Philadelphia schools return to mask optional status after health officials drop mandate

Schools in Philadelphia will now return to a mask optional status after the city's Department of Health dropped the newly reinstated indoor mask mandate days after it took effect. 

Students and staff can now choose whether or not to wear a mask, except for those in Pre-K and head start programs where masks are federally required. 

The masking requirement was reinstated by Philadelphia health officials on April 18 and dropped on April 22. 



A statement from Mayor Jim Kenney's office that was issued Thursday night revealed the city dropped the mandate due to decreasing hospitalizations and leveling case counts. 

Despite the dropped mandate, health officials are "strongly recommending" individuals wear masks in indoor settings. 

Philadelphia took plenty of backlash for reinstating the mask mandate as it was the only large city in the United States to re-implement a mask requirement after it was initially dropped in March.