Students and staff in Philadelphia must wear masks for the first 10 days of the school year, while pre-kindergarten students must mask-up all year — even while kids are extremely unlikely to be impacted by Covid.
Officials from the School District of Philadelphia made the announcement in a letter to parents on Friday, Fox News reports.
Students and staff at the district's Pre-K Head Start program will be required to wear a mask for the entire 2022-2023 school year, the letter said.
For most schools, masks will be optional after the first 10 days of the school year, from Aug. 29 through Sept. 9.
Should the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determine Covid community transmission level is high, students and staff will be required to wear masks in schools. When the level is medium, masks are "strongly recommended," the letter said.
Isolated mask requirements might be implemented for classroom Covid outbreaks or when students return from extended breaks and holidays.
The district is also implementing a "mask to stay" program, stating that students and staff who have been exposed to Covid can stay in school but must wear a mask for 10 days.
Earlier this year, a speech therapist says her clinic has seen a "364% increase in patient referrals of babies and toddlers."
"For some kids, they can workaround the mask and still learn to speak perfectly fine, but for others, it can cause speech delays."
Fox News medical analyst and professor of medicine at New York University Langone Medical Center, Dr. Marc Siegel, said there's "no public health value" in making students and staff mask-up for the first 10 days of the school year.
"The whole thing is, mandates aren't working at all. So, you know, they just obscure the question about whether there's any public health value in actually doing any of this," he said.
"I mean, I think if you're at a high risk, there is. So if I was in an area with a lot of spread, and I was at high risk, I might choose to wear a mask indoors. But there's no evidence that these mandates doing anything.
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