Montgomery County recommends universal masking in schools for 2021-2022 school year
Officials in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania are recommending that everyone wear a mask inside school buildings when the new school year begins. The recommendation applies to all teachers, students, staff and visitors regardless of vaccination status when the 2021-2022 school year begins. The county's Office of Public Health said this follows updated CDC guidance released earlier this week that also recommended masking in schools. County officials also recommend schools implement physical distancing in situations where not everyone is vaccinated, but with the caveat that the recommendation should not exclude students from in-person learning. For schools that cannot maintain physical distancing, they should implement strategies to prevent infection such as indoor masking, screening testing, staying home when sick and regular cleaning. They also recommend cohorting, especially when physical distancing is difficult, which means keeping people in small groups through the entire day. You can see the full list of recommendations on the county's website. This comes after Gov. Tom Wolf said Tuesday that he is not considering a statewide mask mandate as coronavirus cases surge in Pennsylvania and across the country, while his administration said it is not requiring masks in schools. In neighboring Bucks County, the Central Bucks School District - one of the largest districts in the state - voted late Tuesday night to make masks optional for the upcoming school year regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status.