Wondering what changes will be made to schools in the Fall?
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine, have new guidelines for opening schools in Pennsylvania this Fall. Included in the guidelines is a mandatory mask rule for schools.
The new guidelines will apply to all schools in Pennsylvania, from daycare to high school, whether public or private.
Masks must be worn by children all day long.
Students will be allowed to take off their masks when they are
- Eating or drinking and at least 6 feet apart from each other
- Seated at their desks at least 6 feet apart from each other.
- Engaged in any activity that has them at least 6 feet apart from each other – for example -recess.
Athletes do not have to wear masks while they are exercising or competing. However, whenever athletes are on the sidelines, or in the dugout they must wear their mask.
Several parents have expressed opinions about their children wearing masks during the school day.
Laurie DeMark explained that “With a blended approach to the start of school and parental support, including practice in wearing masks, that school students will be able to wear masks with minimal issues.”
“The students should be able to be mask free when outside and practicing social distancing and playing sports with the supervision and support of school and staff,” said DeMark.
Jennifer Kovach explained, “One simple step that could be enforced is temperature checks at arrival or even at the bus pick up. Easy to implement and takes the risk of any illness out of the interaction.”
Brian Leupold, from Corry, Pennsylvania has a daughter going into 11th grade. He explained, “My kid does not want to go to school with a mask mandate.” Mr. Leupold continued on, “I think they should go back as normal and make arrangements for immune-compromised students.”
Another parent, Jen Zehmisch stated, “I won’t force my children to wear a mask. This whole thing is affecting our children’s mental health.”
Zehmisch added, “Let your kids be kids. Let them have some sense of normalcy.”
Another parent and attorney, Danielle Burnette, who is also the head Legal Counsel of the Bare Face is Legal national group explained that “I believe that mandating masks as a requirement as opposed to a choice is unconstitutional. The mask orders are 100% unconstitutional.”
Burnette referenced the Supreme Court’s case of Planned Parenthood vs Casey in which the Supreme Court ruled that “a State’s interest in the protection of life falls short of justifying any plenary override of individual liberty claims.”
As of right now, this order is in effect until further notice.
Despite the difference of opinions, many parents will be faced with the same decisions as everyone navigates the new guidelines.
Should parents send their children back to school under this new mask order, or should they seek alternative options to school, like homeschooling or cyber schools?