Back-to-school dilemma: Differing guidance given on masks

Written by on July 23, 2021

Back-to-school dilemma: Differing guidance given on masks

By Chloe Nouvelle
July 23, 2021

Photo | Beth LaBerge / KQED via NPR

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Should masks be part of this year’s back-to-school checklist? The answer to that question depends on who you ask.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that masks be required in schools only for those who are not fully vaccinated.

But the American Academy of Pediatrics recently recommended that all students over age 2, as well as all school staffers, wear masks. The AAP is recommending masking regardless if an individual is vaccinated against COVID-19 or not.

Despite the AAP guidance, the Pennsylvania Department of Education seems to be siding with the CDC on masking requirements. However, it appears the department is leaving the final decision to local school districts.  

In a statement provided to WLVR, the department said: “The Pennsylvania departments of Health and Education recommend schools follow CDC guidance. In Pennsylvania, school administrators may adopt stricter COVID prevention strategies.”

On Thursday, the Allentown School District announced its universal masking policy will remain in place next school year for students and staff who are unvaccinated.

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