PHILADELPHIA—The Philadelphia Department of Public Health is issuing the following statement with regards to the School District of Philadelphia’s announcement that students and staff are required to wear masks while in school buildings and vehicles.
The Philadelphia Department of Public Health continues to strongly support the decision by the School District of Philadelphia to require all students and staff to mask at this time. Case counts have leveled off in Philadelphia and the surrounding area, but remain at a very high level. Because of the large number of cases and high transmissibility of the current variants of COVID-19 circulating in the Philadelphia area, masking will likely keep many children safely in class who otherwise would be out of school because of COVID-19 infection. It reflects the commitment of our city school leaders to keeping schools open and keeping children in school and learning and we are grateful for that commitment. We will continue to monitor COVID-19 trends and work closely with the School District to provide data-based guidance with the bestinterests of students, staff and the broader Philadelphia community in mind.
On Thursday, June 2, the Health Department calculated an average of 356 new cases of COVID-19 are being identified every day in Philadelphia. Because of the availability and ease of home testing, this number represents only a fraction of COVID-19 cases in the city. COVID-19 hospitalizations have continued to rise, albeit slowly, since the end of April and have not yet peaked.
Our highest priority is to keep our children safe and learning. Keeping them in school to the greatest extent possible is important to that goal. We greatly appreciate the efforts of the School District of Philadelphia toward that goal.