North Hills School District News Article

PA school mask mandate overturned; Masks required at all times during appeal

Posted Wednesday, November 10, 2021

On Nov. 10, the Commonwealth Court issued a ruling voiding the state’s school mask mandate. Hours later, Gov. Tom Wolf's Administration filed an appeal. During the appeal process, the state mandate will remain in effect. This means masks are required inside all NHSD schools and buildings at all times. This includes after-school activities in NHSD buildings run by the district or any outside organization.

Should the appeal be denied and the mandate overturned, NHSD will revert back to its mask requirements as outlined in the district’s health and safety plan which was approved by the NHSD Board of Education in August.

The plan is as follows:

  • When Allegheny County has high or substantial community transmission for COVID-19, masks are required for all students and staff in all district buildings during school hours.
  • When Allegheny County has moderate community transmission for COVID-19, masks are required for all unvaccinated individuals in all district buildings during school hours.
  • When Allegheny County has low community transmission for COVID-19, masks are not required.
  • There are no mask requirements outdoors or during after-school activities and athletics at any community transmission level.

A county’s current community transmission level can be viewed anytime on the CDC's website.

Earlier Statement (Prior to Appeal)

Pennsylvania's school mask mandate was overturned effective immediately on Nov. 10 after a court declared the mandate "void and unenforceable."

As such, NHSD is reverting back to its mask requirements as outlined in the district’s health and safety plan which was approved by the NHSD Board of Education on Aug. 17, 2021.

Under the plan, masks are required for all students and staff in district buildings during school hours when Allegheny County has a high and substantial community transmission level for COVID-19. Allegheny County is currently at a high level of community transmission. The county’s current community transmission level can be viewed anytime on the CDC’s website.

When Allegheny County is in the moderate transmission level, masks are required for all unvaccinated individuals in all district buildings during school hours.

"Because our students are masked, we have not had issues with quarantining students based on close contact. Altering this plan to remove required masking would mean that students would need to be quarantined if they were a close contact of a classmate and that is something that is not in the best educational interest of our students,” said Superintendent Dr. Patrick Mannarino. “Mandate or not, we are still experiencing high levels of transmission in our community and masking will help to keep our students in school. Once we reach a moderate level of transmission, masking will be optional, just as we approved in August."

When Allegheny County is at a low transmission level,  masks are not required.

There are no mask requirements outdoors or during after-school activities and athletics at any community transmission level.

NHSD’s health and safety plan as approved by the school board on Aug. 17 can be reviewed in its entirety here.



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