Northern Tioga School District makes masks optional despite CDC recommendations

Local News

TIOGA COUNTY, Pa. (WETM) – Northern Tioga School District has announced that wearing masks while on school grounds will be optional this year.

The announcement comes despite recommendations by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health, and the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Masks will be required on public transportation such as school buses.

According to the CDC, Tioga County is in a “moderate” transmission rate for COVID-19, while bordering Bradford, Potter, and Lycoming counties are in the “substantial” transmission rate zone.

Dear Parents, Guardians, and Community Members,

The beginning of school for our students is just around the corner. They will be arriving for their first day of school August 25, 2021. The district has been busy getting ready for the big day!As was posted on the district Facebook page, the current position of the CDC, DOH, and PDE is that they recommend that staff and students wear face covering while in school.

The district has taken the position that individuals may make the choice concerning face coverings.

The district will continuously monitor the situation, all guidance that is provided, and adjust as needed. The district will abide by all required mandates.

Concerning the busing of children, the CDC has mandated that masks must be worn on public transportation. Busing of school children is considered public transportation, thus face masks must be worn while on NTSD buses.

To review the recommendations and mandates:

• CDC strongly recommends that students and staff wear masks while in school, even individuals who have been vaccinated. Currently, the district is allowing the individual to make the decision concerning masking.

• CDC has mandated that masks must be worn on public transportation. School busing is considered public transportation and thus anyone on a school bus must wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status.

• PA DOH/PDE guidance recommends that cleaning once per day is usually enough. If a case is presented, clean and disinfect within 24 hours. Buses will follow the same recommendation.

• The district will continue to assist with contact tracing of students and staff.For more detailed information on PA DOH/PDE guidance (current as of 8-11-2021): https://www.education.pa.gov/Documents/K-12/Safe%20Schools/

Last year the district was able to provide in-person instruction for all but a few days. That is our goal for this year as well. There will be significant challenges as we navigate the year, but with the cooperation of all, I believe we can have our children in school with their teachers.

Again, as conditions, guidance, or recommendations change, we will review and update our procedures and plan. Thank you for your help and cooperation.

Sincerely,

Dr. Barnes

The CDC reports that only 35.9 percent of Tioga County is fully vaccinated.

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