PDHP Announces Possible Changes to Mask Mandate
March 2, 2022
Dear School District of Philadelphia Families,
On Wednesday, March 2nd, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) announced that if COVID case counts remain low, they will relax the mask mandate in our schools and offices starting Wednesday, March 9th. Here’s what that would mean:
- Mask wearing would be optional for all students and staff, except those in our PreK Head Start programs.
- Universal masking would still be required for all PreK Head Start students and staff, as required by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
If PDPH relaxes the mask mandate, students and staff would be able to choose whether or not they want to wear a mask in our schools and offices. Some people will continue to wear masks. Others will not. I ask that you thoughtfully consider your personal situation and family circumstances, and do what is best for you or your child – and please respect everyone else’s right to do the same, even if their choice differs from yours.
If masking becomes optional, our collective goal remains the same: to maintain healthy school and work environments that keep our students in school, full time and in person, where we know they learn best. That takes each of us continuing to do our part and adhering to the other health and safety measures that will remain in place such as staying home if you are sick, getting tested if you are showing COVID-like symptoms, isolating if you have been exposed to COVID-19, and quarantining if you test positive for coronavirus. As an extra precaution to help minimize the risk of a COVID surge in our schools after Spring Break, all students and staff would be required to wear a mask April 18-22, the week after we return from Spring Break.
Starting next week, you can get four more free at-home COVID-19 tests sent to your home through the website Covidtests.gov so be sure to order yours.
For now, all staff and students are still required to wear masks. PDPH will continue to monitor COVID case counts over the next week, and may officially relax the mask mandate in our schools and offices starting Wednesday, March 9th, if case counts remain low. We will keep you updated as PDPH guidance evolves.
Thank you, take care and be safe.
William R. Hite Jr., Ed.D.