Midstate school districts to decide what to do about masks in the classroom

Harrisburg

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The CDC says students, teachers, staff and visitors, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, should wear masks in schools.

“We have great diversity within our community and of course, people will obviously have different viewpoints on things,” Donna Dunar, Superintendent of East Pennsboro Area School District, said. “Trying to navigate the ever-changing landscape of requirements and recommendations and guidance as it has unfolded and then quickly trying to turn that around and communicate this is where we are, has posed very challenging.”

East Pennsboro Area School District already finalized its health and safety plans and is sticking to them. Masks will be optional for the new school year.

‘If wearing the mask is not a requirement, then we are going to take that as the recommendation, meaning it will be optional in the fall as we’ve talked about,” Dunar said.

“Given the fact that she’ll be in a building full of other people who are not vaccinated, especially with the CDC guidance in place, it just makes sense to have masks,” said Kevin Keller, father of a student at Cornwall Elementary School.

Keller’s daughter is 7-year-old and can’t get the vaccine. Cornwall-Lebanon School district says masks will be optional. Keller wants the Pennsylvania Department of Health to issue a mandate, which the department says it is not planning to do.

“In that case, I would love to see the districts step up and look at the guidance that’s out there and look at the guidance that’s available and make the reasonable decision based on what’s available,” Keller said.

Cumberland Valley School District hasn’t finalized its plans yet. Andrew Clancy hopes the district stays the course.

“They voted unequivocally that masks and vaccines will be optional for all students, faculty, staff, and visitors,” Clancy said. “My hope is that they’re going to stand by their word and uphold what they voted on back in May.”

School districts have until Friday to submit their health and safety plans to the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

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