Back-to-school mask-wearing mandate: When can students take off masks?


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Governor Tom Wolf and Health Secretary Rachel Levine say the mask-wearing mandate issued last week will apply to children while at school.

This applies to all schools, including public and parochial from daycares to high schools.

The Department of Education released several circumstances for when in school children can remove their masks.

They include:

  • Eating or drinking when spaced at least six feet apart.
  • Seated at desks or assigned workspaces at least six feet apart.
  • Or engaged in any activity at least six feet apart.

The order requires individuals to wear a “face covering” meaning a covering of the nose and mouth that is secured to the head with ties, straps, or loops over the ears or is wrapped around the lower face.

Face coverings can be factory-made, sewn by hand, or improvised from household items, including scarves, bandanas, t-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels. 

The order remains in effect until further notice.

For more on the mask-wearing mandate in schools visit

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