HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — It’s been two months since Governor Wolf ended all mask mandates in the Commonwealth. Tuesday, that changed to help protect the youth and their education.
“Our students need our help. Right now. To stay safe and stay in school,” said Governor Tom Wolf.
Governor Wolf announced Tuesday in Harrisburg, a new order, as COVID-19 cases are on the rise. His administration is requiring masking in all K-12 schools, early learning, and child care.
“It’s crucial for students and staff to wear masks in school. This is necessary to keep our students and teachers safe and in the classroom,” explained Gov. Wolf.
Students ages 12 and up are eligible to get a vaccine, according to the CDC. For those under 12, Wolf says, there are still ways to protect the youth population.
“We know that there are other reliable ways to protect them. Those that can’t be vaccinated from the spread of the disease. Including wearing masks,” Gov. Wolf said.
“He knows it right now, given everything that he has seen, the only decision for him to ensure the best possible protection for our students is masking,” stated Robert Mehalick, Superintendent, Crestwood School District
Mehalick says since June 2020, 142 Crestwood students and 73 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. Monday night, the district approved its own masking mandate as COVID cases increase in Luzerne County.
“Looking at that data, it certainly supported going with the mandated mask for all students, staff, and visitors when they are coming into our buildings,” Mehalick said.
“I think doing this at the state level, takes the question out of the mix,” Scranton School Board President Katie Gilmartin said.
The Scranton School District is following the data as well and adopted its own mask mandate.
Gilmartin says Americans have worked so hard to help stop the spread of COVID-19, to allow students to learn in the classroom.
“I can’t, for the life of me, understand why we wouldn’t take every step possible to ensure that we are able to continue in that model,” said Gilmartin.
Now, Governor Wolf’s order will go into effect on September 7th, the same day both Crestwood and Scranton School Districts return for in-person learning.