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Masks required in Pennsylvania schools starting Tuesday

PITTSBURGH — Students are required to wear masks in Pennsylvania K-12 schools starting Tuesday.

Last week, Gov. Tom Wolf issued a mandate because of the delta variant of COVID-19 that continues to spread around the state.

After weeks of parent disagreements, heated school board meetings and protests, Wolf stepped in and made the decision to mandate masks in schools, after he said school boards across the state refused to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to implement mandates in their particular schools.

The goal is to keep kids in the classroom, and not have to resort to online learning.

Students will be required to wear face coverings, which are defined by the state as covering the nose and mouth. Public, private and parochial schools are all included in the mandate, as well as day care centers and preschools.

“It’s not bad wearing a mask, it just gets tiring because I can’t breathe in it sometimes, and people talk to me. It’s hard, too, for me to hear them because they have their mask on,” Pittsburgh Public Schools student Jazmeirya Morris said.

Mary Boxley, who has school-aged grandchildren, said masks are just a part of life now.

“I don’t like wearing a mask sometimes, too, but you have to. It’s just precaution and for their safety, that’s the way I’m looking at it,” she said.

Parents and grandparents in the North Hills School District said that, at this point, whatever can be done to help protect students should be done.

“It hasn’t been too bad. I mean, we had to do it last year and we don’t make a big deal of it. So, if that’s what they gotta do, then that’s what we do,” Danyell Duermeyer, a North Hills parent, said.

There are a few exceptions to the mask mandate, such as children having a medical condition or being younger than 2 years old.