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September 2, 2021: PA Department of Health Face Covering Mandate

Dear Rocket Families, 

On Tuesday, August 31, 2021, the Pennsylvania Department of Health instituted a mask mandate for all schools stating teachers, students, staff, and visitors working, attending, or visiting any school entity shall wear a face covering indoors, regardless of vaccination status. The order is effective Tuesday, September 7, 2021.  

The District has been in consultation with our solicitor to review the District’s obligations to enforce the mandate. As elected school board officials and a Commissioned Officer in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, we are legally obligated to enforce the mandate under the Disease Prevention and Control Law of 1955. We have always believed in local control of our schools; with this order, our local control of this matter was taken from us. As a result, on Tuesday, September 7, we will welcome and expect all our students, staff, and visitors to wear a mask upon entering our buses and/or buildings. 

We are aware that some families are upset with this mandate. I want to be clear; when we operate with restrictions that take us away from our familiar school setting and processes, it is not our desired approach. We understand from those in the medical profession and in authority that certain steps must be taken to support public health initiatives and to achieve our goals.  

Our goal for the 2021-2022 school year was of a singular focus: open our schools and be prepared for our students and their education. The goal today is the same - to remain open, be available for our students, and provide for their educational, physical, and emotional well-being. Your understanding and cooperation with the mask mandate will help us continue to focus on educating our students and fulfilling our mutual goal of keeping our school doors open.    

We have worked with many state organizations and our colleagues to better understand the specifics of the order, the exceptions, and the enforcement. The District will continue to work with our solicitor to monitor the status of the mandate.  When we have any updates to share, including our FAQS with additional information, we will communicate to all our families.  

Thank you for your patience and understanding. 

Sincerely, 

Dr. George W. Ioannidis 
Superintendent