Cloth face masks no longer accepted in Philadelphia public schools

Beginning Monday, February 7, Philadelphia School District students and staff will no longer be permitted to wear only cloth masks in the classroom.

In a letter sent to parents and families on Feb. 2, the school district announced its updated health and safety protocols, based on recent guidance from the Centers of Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Students and staff who choose to wear a cloth mask must double-up the mask with a cloth mask over a 3-ply disposable mask, which SDP [School District of Philadelphia] currently provides. For those who choose to wear a single mask, a 3-ply disposable mask is preferred over a cloth mask alone, or they may also choose to wear a tight-fitting KN95, KF94, or N95 mask,” the letter signed by Superintendent Dr. William Hite and Health Commissioner Dr Cheryl Bettigole read.

To accommodate the new guidelines, all schools and offices in the Philadelphia district will receive a supply of adult KN95 masks to distribute to staff who may need them.

“We are simply following the guidance of public health experts who obviously know best how we can stay safe to continue to have in-person learning available for our students, which is the best way for our children to learn,” a Philadelphia’s school district said.

In an interview with 6ABCTemple Health physician and family medicine specialist Dr. Delana Wardlaw explained why this is a necessary step to take.

“We know that with this omicron variant a large number of children have been affected and we still know that there is a large percentage of children under 12 who are not vaccinated,” he said. she declared.

According to data from the PDPH vaccination dashboard, less than half (49.5%) of children in Philadelphia under the age of 12 have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine.

In addition to getting vaccinated, proper masking indoors and among crowds has proven to be another effective way to protect and shield yourself from the virus.

“We have done a very effective job of keeping the transmission rate up in our schools, but also keeping our staff and students safe so we can have in-person learning,” the district spokeswoman said. Philadelphia schoolgirl Monica Lewis in a statement.

Temple University also updated its own mask requirements in the same way last month.

As positive cases in Philadelphia see a decline, Dr. Bettigole noted that the city is likely to keep its mask mandates and other restrictions in place for the foreseeable future.

“If you think about where we are with this particular wave and the case rates right now, we’re probably several months away from a place where we have the kind of security to drop all current restrictions,” he said. she declared.

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