This story originally appeared on 6abc.
At least two schools in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania notified parents that masks are required starting Friday morning due to the latest COVID-19 data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Students at Cheltenham School District and Lower Merion School District will need to wear masks again starting on May 20.
The CDC has moved Montgomery County into the “high” community level on its COVID-19 data tracker.
Guidance from the CDC, as well as the Montgomery County Department of Public Health and Human Services, say when community level is “high”:
- Wear a mask indoors in public
- Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines
- Get tested if you have symptoms
- Additional precautions may be needed for people at high risk for severe illness
In a letter to the community Thursday night, Superintendent Dr. Brian Scriven of the Cheltenham School District said per the recommendation of the Montgomery County Office of Public Health, “masks are required indoors and on public transportation. As such, the Cheltenham School District will return to requiring a mask in all of its buildings beginning tomorrow, Friday, May 20, 2022.”
“Please remember to send your child to school with a mask. If your child doesn’t have a mask, they are available in the nurse’s suite,” Scriven said. “Once the county has returned to ‘medium’ on the data tracker, the district will pivot back to ‘mask recommended.’ We are still offering Test to Stay and Mask to Stay for eligible students and staff.”
The Lower Merion School District is also requiring masks indoors and on buses.
“Please discuss this change with students and send them to school with their mask. Thank you for your ongoing cooperation in helping to keep our community healthy,” a message on the district’s Facebook page read.
According to the latest CDC data, most of the Delaware Valley, including Bucks, Chester and Delaware counties, are also in the “high” community level, though no other districts are requiring masks at this time.
Philadelphia and Berks County in Pennsylvania and Mercer County in New Jersey are the only local areas still at the “medium” level.
Health officials say the number of Philadelphians testing positive for COVID-19 is now as high as it was during the first week of February and has more than doubled in the last three weeks.
Hospitalizations in the city have also doubled.
Philadelphia officials say they’re not reinstating the mask mandate at this time, but they’re recommending wearing masks indoors.
Just one community in our region is at the “low” level – that’s Cumberland County, New Jersey.