PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Philadelphia School District will resume masking indoors and on school buses starting Monday, May 23. The health department recommended the school district resume universal mask-wearing due to the rise of COVID-19 cases in the Philadelphia region.
Students and staff will be required to wear their masks during the school and workday, and must continue to wear masks while riding transportation coordinated by the district. This includes school buses and vans, taxis, ride-share, Uber, etc.READ MORE: Man Killed In Apparent Road Rage Shooting In Springfield, Authorities Say
“The District encourages families and staff to take extra precautions to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and will continue to work with PDPH to closely monitor COVID case counts and implement any actions needed to protect the health and well-being of everyone in our schools,” the school district said.
The school district says masking will be in place until further notice.
The move to mandate masks is getting mixed reactions from parents, as some school leaders say this is the only way to keep students and staff safe.
“They just keep switching it back and forth, it’s kind of confusing. I don’t know how it’s helpful when it’s just on and off,” parent Mikayela Souder said.
With only weeks left in the school year, some parents say the back and forth over mask mandates is giving them whiplash.
“We’re seeing the continued steady increase over time which is really not similar to anything we’ve seen before,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole said.READ MORE: GUIDE: Where To Watch Fourth Of July Fireworks In Philadelphia Region
Bettigole says the city is now averaging 360 new cases a day and hospitalizations are on the rise.
In suburban counties, like Montgomery County, cases are even higher.
“If you look at a map you can kind of see what’s happening. Philadelphia is this tiny island of yellow in a sea of red,” Bettigole said.
Because of this, the Philadelphia School District is standing firm on its announcement that masks would be mandated starting Monday.
The city’s teachers union supports the decision.
“The whole school year he’s been doing it so he just kinda kept doing it. He’s like used to it, I guess,” Souder said.
Meanwhile, several school districts in Montgomery County have also decided to resume masking.MORE NEWS: Family Members Identify 21-Year-Old Woman Killed After Disgruntled Patron Opened Fire In Northeast Philadelphia Bar As Jailene Holton
CBS3’s Jasmine Payoute contributed to this report.