The state has provided clarification on when masks are required at schools since the new mask order was issued by Pennsylvania’s secretary of health on July 1st.
In regards to schools, the order applies to adults and kids. Schools are defined as “public K-12 schools, brick and mortar and cyber charter schools, private and parochial schools, career and technical centers (CTCs), intermediate units (IUs); educational programming for students in non-educational placements such as residential settings (boarding schools), residential facilities, detention centers, and hospital settings; PA Pre-K Counts, Head Start Programs and Preschool Early Intervention programs; and Private Academic Nursery Schools and locally funded prekindergarten activities.”
In regards to whether students are required to wear masks while at school, that will really be determined by class size and the size of the classroom. Students do not have to wear a mask in these situations:
- Eating or drinking when spaced at least 6 feet apart;
- Seated at desks or assigned workspaces at least 6 feet apart; or
- Engaged in any activity at least 6 feet apart (e.g. face-covering breaks, recess, etc.).
The big one is the second one, which stipulates when students do not have to wear masks while in a classroom. If the class size and classroom allow for proper social distancing, then masks are not required. If proper social distancing can’t be established, then the students need to wear masks.
You can read through all of the clarifications here.
If you would like to read an opposing viewpoint on this issue, Wired has an article about what other countries have done that have already reopened schools.