Mar 8, 2022 - COVID

Philly schools to drop mask mandate Wednesday

Illustration of a mask with a red x being drawn over it.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Philadelphia is ending its indoor mask mandate for district schools on Wednesday.

Driving the news: The city's Department of Public Health says face masks will be optional for all district students and staff in school settings, including day care centers, starting March 9, district superintendent William Hite wrote in a letter to families Tuesday.

Yes, but: Masks are still required indoors for pre-kindergarten students and staff in the district's Head Start programs for low-income families due to federal mandates.

  • There will also be a temporary return to mandatory masking for students and staff after spring break from April 18-22.

Between the lines: Schools can maintain their own mask mandates.

  • Hite acknowledged some students will opt to continue to wear a mask.
  • "Do what is best for you and your child — and respect everyone's right to do the same, even if their choice differs from yours," Hite wrote.

Flashback: The city ditched its indoor mask mandate for public places, like restaurants and businesses, last week as COVID cases and hospitalizations plummeted from a recent surge fueled by the Omicron variant.

Of note: Mask mandates remain in effect at health care institutions and on public transportation.

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