Rising COVID numbers have prompted the Erie School District to mandate face masks for staff, students and visitors.

The decision, which took effect on Monday, comes with just days left in the school year.

For the Erie School District, it’s the result of lessons already learned. The face masks are back on for the rest of the school year.

No one building reported a case count around five percent, but there has been an increase in the schools.

“We as a school district are seeing numbers we haven’t seen since the beginning of February, and that’s district-wide,” said Neal Brockman, Erie School District Pandemic Coordinator.

While full time masking may not be the most popular option, students at least here at Erie High were also apparently willing to do what it takes to get to the end of the school year in person.

“We have 12 days left and the kids have been through so much the last few years. They’re so resilient, 12 days, that’s what we need. They’ve had a great attitude and good start,” said Donald Orlando, Erie High School Principal.

The district reported no mask related problems at any of its 15 schools on Monday. Students who came to school without a face mask were given one.

“We will do what we need to do to make sure kids can come to our buildings, remain safe, remain healthy, and we’ll use the next two weeks to teach as many as we possibly can,” said Brockman.

These two weeks also allow Erie to complete the state required 180 day school year without going to remote learning. It’s a final chance to make an impact.

“We’re not just going to throw our hands up and say call it quits,” said Brockman.

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The school year ends in the city on June 8. The district is hoping to be maskless in time for summer school on June 20.