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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: August 30, 2021 10:14 AM
From: Senator Nikil Saval
To: All Senate members
Subject: Masking mandate for K-12 students
As the new school year begins, we should be doing everything we can to ensure our children’s safe return to full-time, in-person instruction. However, as COVID cases increase across the state, the reaction and planning of school districts has been mixed.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), multiple studies have shown that transmission rates within school settings, when prevention strategies are in place, are typically lower than community transmission levels.

According to the health and safety plans submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), fewer than 10% of schools have enacted a masking policy, which is counter to CDC guidance for K-12 schools. We know this number may change, but it further highlights how schools are not following recommended procedures and mitigation practices.

To ensure the safety of children and families, I will be introducing legislation that will require school districts to implement universal indoor masking within K-12 classrooms. 

Schools are the backbone of our communities. If schools close, we put the learning of our children at risk. We also remove a crucial support for working parents. We need to ensure that children remain in full-time, in-person instruction to fulfill their educational, social, and emotional development. We need to ensure that parents and caregivers have the ability to work to pay their bills and fuel the economy. Our livelihoods are connected to keeping children in schools, and we should be doing everything in our power to keep them there.