Another Major City Requires Students To Mask Again

By Erika Hanson | 2 weeks ago

mask mandate

Over the past few months, school districts that were still imposing mask mandates in schools gradually were seen lifting those requirements, to many families’ delight. But since the return to normalcy was felt throughout the nation, another highly-contagious subvariant began spreading rapidly across the East Coast, causing many major cities to reinstate the mask mandates yet again. In recent weeks, school districts like those in Maine and Philadelphia have already brought the face coverings back to school buildings, and now Pittsburgh public schools will as well.

In a message shared on social media and to all parents, the major Pennsylvania school district made the announcement to bring back mask mandates the night before the ruling went into effect. Starting today, all students, employees, and school visitors will be required to mask up. A local news station, Trib Live, reported that the ruling will last for at least 10 days, and the district will reassess if masks will still be required depending on COVID data when the time comes.

The decision to bring the mask mandate back came only two weeks after the Pittsburgh school district lifted the longstanding regulation imposing them in schools. But the decision was not made on a whim. The district has adopted strict protocols for when they need to impose them, and the city and schools had just this week surpassed those thresholds. According to a social media post, Allegheny County, in which the district resides, had moved its COVID-spread alert status from low to medium, triggering the district’s decision.

Mask mandates stated that during low transmission periods, masking was optional. But if and when the county raised that level to medium or high, schools were required to reimpose mask mandates. To make matters worse, two Pittsburgh schools and an administration building were forced to close their doors after an uptick in COVID positive cases. The buildings were closed for two days, and the district announced that they all underwent thorough disinfectant procedures before reopening today.

The subvariant at the heart of the issue causing many districts to reimpose mask mandates is known as the Omicron Subvarient BA.2.12.1. It is said to be at least 30% more infectious than the last subvariant of the highly-contagious Omicron strand, according to reports from Deadline. It is now expected to quickly become the dominant strand of the COVID virus in America, and it is driving up hospital numbers in the state of New York. For this reason, many officials are taking caution, but not everyone agrees with the need to.

Critics of mask mandates point to the fact that even the CDC has noted that the Omicron variants tend to be significantly less deadly to Americans. Furthermore, cloth masks, typically used by schoolchildren have allegedly been reported not to protect against the virus as well as once was believed. But still, many scientists believe that even if not fully effective, any type of facial covering can help deter the spread.

mask mandate

For now, students attending Pittsburgh public schools will have to mask up for at least the next two weeks of school. Depending on how bad the virus continues to spread in the major city, the mask mandates may remain in fact for longer. Schools across the nation are prepping for summer break, but COVID remains an ominous deterrent, perpetually rearing its nasty face into public education.