LANCASTER, Pa. — State leaders will visit Cumberland County on Aug. 16 to discuss new COVID-19 vaccine and testing initiatives, which they say will better support schools.
This announcement comes as schools and districts across Pennsylvania continue to work on their back-to-school safety plans for the fall.
Some schools and districts have already revealed their back-to-school safety guidelines, while others are debating what to do. The challenge continues for educators, as they prepare for the 2021-22 school year. From the highly contagious Delta variant, to vaccines not yet authorized for children 11-years-old and younger, all while working to ensure students and staff are staying safe.
Regardless if districts have decided to require masks or not, plans can still change with the uncertainty of the pandemic.
Regarding a statewide mandate for masks and vaccines, Governor Tom Wolf said there are no plans for that at this time. He said the decision is up to districts, however, the state is strongly encouraging schools to follow CDC guidelines.
The CDC recommends universal indoor masking by all students, staff, teachers, and visitors in all K through 12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.
On Monday at 1 p.m., the Department of Health Acting Secretary, Alison Beam, and Department of Education head, Noe Ortega, will stop by the Capitol Area Intermediate Unit in Pennsboro Township. They're expected to reveal new COVID-19 vaccine and testing initiatives, which they say will better support schools.
Officials say the new initiatives will preserve in-person education and school sports during the pandemic.
As the first day of school approaches, be sure to check your district website to familiarize yourself with the guidelines they put in place.
The CDC lists the following as its latest guidance for masks as of August 13.
- If you are not fully vaccinated and aged 2 or older, you should wear a mask in indoor public places.
- In general, you do not need to wear a mask in outdoor settings.
- People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken their immune system may not be fully protected even if they are fully vaccinated. They should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people, including wearing a well-fitted mask, until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider.
- If you are fully vaccinated, to maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
- If you are fully vaccinated, see When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated.