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Cheltenham Township, PA

Masks in schools? Districts across Delaware Valley react to new CDC recommendation

6abc Action News
6abc Action News

In a decision that's already sparked debate in the Delaware Valley, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised its guidance on mask-wearing this week.

With the delta variant surging across the country, the agency is now recommending that even fully vaccinated people wear masks in areas with a significant or high spread of COVID-19. A recommendation that also extends to schools.

The topic was the center of a heated debate Tuesday evening at a Central Bucks School District meeting.

Chichester School District parents like Vanessa Green-Jenkins worry that by not making masks mandatory lives could be put at risk.

RELATED: One of Pennsylvania's largest school districts votes to make masks optional

"My (kids) will be wearing masks, even vaccinated or not vaccinated," Green-Jenkins said.

Especially, if the decision is made as a way to steer clear of controversy.

"I tell my kids, 'Don't worry about what someone else says, you're protecting yourself,'" she said.

Cheltenham School District officials are also aware of the lingering controversy.

RELATED: CHOP virus expert says COVID variant rise was 'preventable,' likely to see 1K deaths a day

"We certainly understand that it's going to be virtually impossible to have everyone on the same page about any decision that we make," said Dr. Nancy Hacker, Cheltenham Acting Superintendent.

On Good Morning America, Doctor Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Pennsylvania addressed masking in school as it relates to the unvaccinated and the upcoming winter months.

"For a parent of a 10-year-old, knowing that you have a highly contagious virus and unvaccinated population of children less than 12 years of age in the winter months, I would only feel safe sending my child to school if I knew that there was going to be a mask mandate," Offit said.

Chichester School District officials said a mask mandate could be in the pipeline if levels of transmission reach the CDC defined "substantial level"

"The biggest stress for superintendents, we're not health officials. We feel we've been put in a position to be health officials, we're educators," said Dr. Dan Nerelli, Chichester School District superintendent.

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