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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf. Photo: Pete Bannan/ MediaNews Group/Daily Local News via Getty Images

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) on Tuesday announced that masks will be required inside K-12 school buildings.

The big picture: The move is a reversal from his initial stance earlier this month, when he said he wanted to leave the decision on mask requirements to individual school districts, citing guidance from the CDC, which "strongly recommend" the practice: "They're not mandating it, and neither am I."

State of play: The mask order will go into effect on Sept. 7.

  • In addition to K-12 school buildings, early learning programs and child care providers will also be required to wear masks indoors.
  • Pennsylvania's new mandate will not apply to school sports or outdoor activities.

What he's saying: "The science is clear. The Delta variant is highly transmissible and dangerous to the unvaccinated, many of whom are children too young to receive the vaccine. Requiring masks in schools will keep our students safer and in the classroom, where we all want them to be," Wolf said.

  • "I preferred for local school boards to make this decision. Unfortunately, an aggressive nationwide campaign is spreading misinformation about mask-wearing and pressuring and intimidating school districts to reject mask policies that will keep kids safe and in school," he added.

By the numbers: As of Aug. 31, Pennsylvania has reported a total of 1,083,545 coronavirus cases and 28,235 confirmed deaths, according to government data.

  • Cases in the state have slowly been increasing since early July.

Go deeper

Oct 20, 2021 - Health

White House unveils plan to "quickly" vaccinate kids ages 5–11

Charles Muro, 13, is inoculated at Hartford Healthcare's mass vaccination center at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, Conn. Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images

The White House on Wednesday released its plan to vaccinate children between the ages of 5 and 11, pending authorization from the FDA of the first COVID-19 shot for that age group.

The big picture: The White House said it has secured enough vaccine supply to equip more than 25,000 pediatric and primary care offices, hundreds of school and community health clinics, and tens of thousands of pharmacies to administer the shots.

Oct 22, 2021 - Health

CDC director: U.S. may change definition of "fully vaccinated" as boosters roll out

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Friday the U.S. "may need to update" its definition for what it means to have full vaccination against COVID.

The big picture: The CDC and the FDA have officially approved boosters with every authorized vaccine in the U.S. for people who meet specific requirements. Walensky explained that since not everyone is eligible for a booster, the definition has not been changed "yet."

ACLU sues Texas school district for punishing boys with long hair

An instructor leads a classroom discussion at the Xavier Academy in Houston, Texas. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Thursday on behalf of seven students in a Texas school district over what they call a discriminatory policy requiring boys, but not girls, to wear short hair.

Driving the news: School officials in the Magnolia Independent School District have punished boys for having long hair, including one 9-year-old student who was forced to serve an in-school suspension for a month and be removed from campus, according to the lawsuit.

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