North Hills School District News Article

NHSD School Board: Masks required when COVID spread is high or substantial

Posted Tuesday, August 17, 2021

The North Hills School District's health and safety plan for the 2021-22 school year was approved on Aug. 17. View the complete plan here.

Under the plan, masks are required for all students and staff in district buildings during school hours when Allegheny County has high or substantial level of community transmission for COVID-19.

When Allegheny County is in the moderate transmission level, North Hills School District will require all unvaccinated individuals to be masked while in any district building during the school day.

When Allegheny County has a low transmission level, masks will no longer be required.

The board voted 6-3 in favor of the plan. Board members Katie Poniatowski, Rachael Rennebeck and Helen “Dee” Spade cast "no" votes.

Allegheny County currently has a high level of community spread. This level is updated weekly by the CDC and can be viewed here.

The health and safety plan was passed with amended language regarding the wearing of masks at the recommendation of Superintendent Dr. Patrick Mannarino.

"This approach allows us the best opportunity to provide in-person learning five days a week with minimal quarantine-based disruptions," Board of Education President Allison Mathis stated in reading a joint statement prepared with Dr. Mannarino.

"In-person learning is the most important common district goal," she continued. "Per the Allegheny County Health Department, universal masking prevents the need to be quarantined if within three to six feet of a COVID-19 positive individual."

Most school districts in the area now have universal masking mandates.

Mrs. Mathis concluded, “While we acknowledge that some parents, students or employees might be frustrated by this decision, or may be experiencing mask-fatigue, safe, full, in-person education is an extremely positive step in the right direction and the return to normalcy. Masking will allow us to offer this in-person instruction safely."

Under the plan, there are no mask requirements when outdoors or during after-school activities and athletics.

Virtual Learning for Grades K-5

If you would like to change your K-5 student enrollment from virtual to traditional or vice versa now that our plan is finalized, please email Dr. Beth Williams at [email protected] no later than noon on Thursday, Aug. 19.

Virtual learning is the district’s only virtual option for students in grades K-5. Learning is asynchronous and students are not assigned a seat in a North Hills elementary school classroom.

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