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Pittston Area School District makes masks mandatory for K-8

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HUGHESVILLE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — As school districts prepare to welcome students back to classrooms, tough decisions are being made about wearing masks.

In addition to backpacks, pencils and notebooks, some students in the Pittston Area School District will also have to pack a mask or two as they return to in-person learning in just a few weeks.

“The virtual experience last year was very difficult for us so I will take what I can get,” said parent Amanda Slayton.

Amanda Slayton has two kids enrolled in the Pittston Area School District. Savannah is starting kindergarten and Tristan is heading into second grade. They will both have to wear masks in school, as well as their teachers and peers.

“We are very resistant to go back to what happened last year. We need and want to have our kids back in school,” said Pittston Area School District Superintendent, Kevin Booth.

The board voted on implementing the mandate Tuesday night. It applies to students and staff kindergarten through eighth grade. For grades 9-12, however, masking is optional, for those who are fully vaccinated.

“The board got together and through a majority of the membership of the board, this is the direction that they wanted to go for now. It’s a fluid situation, and if they need to make a decision to change, I know they’re willing to do that,” said Booth.

For now, Slayton says her family will follow the guidance from the district to ensure her kids stay in the classroom.

“They just need that experience with the teachers, the other students, I mean virtual didn’t really do much for us last year so I’m happy that they’re going to be in school, masks or not, the kids don’t really care,” said Slayton.

The Pittston Area School District is requiring students and staff in kindergarten through eighth grade to wear masks in school.

Many parents are saying they’ll follow the district’s guidance in hopes that it keeps their kids in school after tough experiences with remote learning.

“I’m looking forward to him being back in school,” said parent Monica Reap.

The school board voted Tuesday night to mandate mask wearing for students and teachers in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Reap will be sending her son Levi to kindergarten at Pittston Area with plenty of extra masks in his backpack.

“Keeping it on them is going to be a task. I know how the little ones are especially, taking him to the grocery store, they’re ripping it down, they’re sucking on it, they’re pulling it off, they have it on their head, down their chin, under their nose, so good luck to the teachers, it’s going to be a crazy school year for you,” said Reap.  

Amanda Slayton has two kids enrolled in the district and is thrilled to have them back to learning in person, even if they have to wear facial coverings.

“It really doesn’t faze the kids too much. As long as it’s as normal of an experience as they can get. I mean, my youngest is going into kindergarten so I really wanted her to be in a classroom setting. The virtual experience last year was very difficult so I will take what I can get,” said Slayton

Superintendent Kevin Booth says the precautionary measure is intended to keep kids in the classroom, but the district will monitor the school community closely.

“We are very resistant to go back to what happened last year. We need and want to have our kids back in school,” said the superintendent.

Masking is optional for students grades 9-12 who are fully vaccinated and Pittston Area’s first day of school is Monday, August 30th.

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