Governor Wolf announces that school districts will be able to make their own decisions on facemasks

Your Local Vaccine HQ

Governor Tom Wolf has put Pennsylvania’s school mask mandate on the clock.

Governor Wolf announced that the school districts will be able to make their own decisions about facemasks as of January 17th.

Meanwhile, an increasing number of kids receiving the COVID-19 vaccine leaves the question, could things go back to normal soon in schools?

We’re being told that the key to beating this is to get everyone immune, but it is too early to determine how the future of this will look like.

The Pfizer vaccine for ages five to eleven-year-olds continues to roll out in Erie County. So far UPMC Hamot is seeing at least 100 kids so far getting their first dose.

With Governor Wolf’s move on Monday to leave mask mandates up to the school districts, those districts will have big decisions to make between now and January.

“Right now we’re looking at our options. We’re consulting with the Erie County Department of Health and taking some recommendations to the board,” said Brian Polito, Superintendent of Erie School District.

Meanwhile, Erie County’s infectious disease physician said that having kids maskless at this point is not what he wants to see.

“Unless you have a large number, the vast majority of kids immune, it doesn’t make any sense to have schools unmasked,” said Dr. Howard Nadworny, Infectious Disease Physician, Erie County Health Department.

Yet the Emergency Services Director of UPMC Hamot, Jason Chenault, said that the rollout is the start of immunity within the population.

Chenault advises parents to not worry about the vaccine for their child.

“One third of the adult dose. So we did have to make some special considerations to make sure that we’re making it safe for children to get the vaccine,” said Jason Chenault, Emergency Services Senior Director at UPMC Hamot.

So how close are we to being back to normal?

“This is probably a long way from being over unless we really accelerate the number of people that can be made immune by the vaccination. I think that’s really our way out,” said Dr. Nadworny.

Dr. Nadworny said that it is going to take at least four weeks for children to get fully vaccinated, and those will be the kids getting their shots right now.

We’re told that all school districts in the area have until January 17th to come up with a final decision on the new mask policy.

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