CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) — The current CDC order says masks are required on public transportation but not every school district thinks school buses fit the bill.
As of now, masks won’t be required in school or on the bus because Carlisle district officials say the state mask mandate was lifted and they disagree with the CDC over the definition of “Public transportation”
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As school districts finalize their health and safety plans for the fall, many parents want masks to be completely optional.
“In my opinion, being a bus driver, they should have to be required to wear the masks just for the safety of all the students that (are) on board of the buses,” Sherry Wileman, a school bus driver for Cumberland Valley School District, said.
CV says it hasn’t made a decision, but one will be available by the end of the month.
“Til we know that this epidemic is over, we should still have to mask up,” Wileman said.
But the Carlisle Area School District has taken a different stance. Eric Sands, director of management services says despite the CDC saying school buses are a form of public transportation, the district doesn’t consider them to be.
“We believe school bus transportation is very different from public transportation such as city busses and trains,” Sands said. “Only CASD students may ride our school buses in assigned seats, which makes contact tracing and spacing manageable.
The chief legal officer of the Pennsylvania School Board Association says it’s not an option.
“There is still in effect a CDC order that legally requires operators of public transportation vehicles, including school buses to require their passengers to wear masks,” Stuart Knade said.
It’s impossible to know if that CDC order could change, but Wileman wants people to consider the health of others around them.
“There could be a kid sitting there that has some kind of an illness. He could end up with COVID and it could kill him. Would you want your kid sitting in that seat and end up with that COVID? All kids should have to mask up regardless,” Wileman said.
Sands says Carlisle will continue to monitor the guidance from state and federal health officials and as guidance changes, it will adjust as needed.