Some school districts’ in Midstate not planning to mandate masks on the buses

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LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — Throughout the Midstate, school districts are offering differing guidance when it comes to masks. Some are mask optional, others are requiring it, but school buses seem to be a different story.

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The CDC is clear on the issue. Regardless of school mask policy, masks are required on school buses. The Pennsylvania Department of Health shares that sentiment: “The CDC order requiring masks to be worn on public transportation includes school buses.”

“It’s a difficult situation and I understand we’ve got people on both sides of the issue saying yes we need to mask up and other people saying we’re done with masking we’re beyond covid,” Ryan Dellinger, Executive Director at Pennsylvania School Bus Association, said.

That doesn’t appear to be the case because two Lancaster County schools say they’re not mandating mask-wearing. Eastern Lancaster County School District and the Ephrata School District say they won’t discipline students if they fail to comply. This is something Ryan Dellinger is hearing a lot from bus drivers lately but says he’s advising them to follow CDC guidance.

“Trying to enforce masking is not too different than trying to enforce student discipline on the bus, making sure kids are seated, making sure they are not throwing things around, etc. Yes, it is something extra but if that’s something the school district wants our drivers, our contractors to do then that just gets rolled into the rest of their duties,” Dellinger said.  

A move some parents say should be a personal choice.

“I can’t see my kids when they were younger keeping masks on willingly without somebody on them all the time and bus drivers can’t do that. I don’t think it’s fair to put that on the bus driver’s,” Geanna Steinmetz, Lancaster County resident, said.

We reached out to both school districts for comment. None were available for interviews.

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