When students and teachers in Philadelphia go back to school on Monday, they will have to wear masks again as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise — the latest twist in the city’s evolving approach to masking.
William R. Hite Jr., the Philadelphia School District superintendent, announced Friday that “all students and school district staff will be required to wear their masks during the school and work day and while riding school buses and vans” until further notice. on.
The inspector stressed that the district remained flexible to adapt to new threats from Covid-19.
“As we have learned since the pandemic began, the coronavirus continues to evolve and so does our response to it,” he said in a statement.
And that’s not new for the city. Last month, Philadelphia became the first major U.S. city to reinstate an indoor mask mandate in response to rising coronavirus cases, but the health department decided to lift the order four days later due to improving conditions.
Returning a mask warrant appears to be in line with federal recommendations. Last week, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said a third of Americans live in areas where the threat of Covid is so great that they should consider wearing a mask in indoor public areas. dr. Walensky cited the spread of the virus and the increase in hospitalizations across the country. The United States has an average of more than 100,000 known cases per day for the first time since February.
Cases of coronavirus in the Philadelphia region are moving in the same direction as in the nation. Philadelphia County, which includes the city, recently reported an average of 434 new cases per day, up 42 percent from the average two weeks earlier, according to a DailyExpertNews database. 209 new hospital admissions per day were reported, an increase of 29 percent from the average two weeks earlier.
Other cities are adopting a wait-and-see attitude. In New York City, face masks have been optional in public schools since March. Last week, Mayor Eric Adams said that despite the city reaching high alert levels for the coronavirus due to the rapidly spreading Omicron sub-variants, he had no plans to bring back mask mandates for the time being.
“If we go into shutdown thoughts with every variant that comes, we panic, we’re not going to function as a city,” said Mr. Adams at a press conference on Wednesday.
When asked if he would reinstate a mask mandate for schools, Mr. Adams replied, “No.”