December 13, 2021
Staff, Students, and Stakeholders,
On 12/10/21, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down the Acting Secretary of Health’s school masking order.
Please note that this decision does not impact the federal directive requiring all passengers and drivers to wear a mask on school buses, including on buses operated by public and private school systems; these requirements remain in effect. It also does not impact the federal masking mandate issued for Head Start and Early Head Start grantees.
As such, the Laurel Highlands School District will reincorporate the guidance outlined in our Health and Safety Plan. In short, unless the DOH, PDE, and/or, the Commonwealth of PA accurately apply for and are granted the authority to implement a masking mandate, effective 12/13/21 masking will be voluntary for school adult employees and a parental choice for students and families. However, please be aware that masking in school settings minimizes the spread of COVID, particularly in settings where individuals and students are not vaccinated, and allows for reduced quarantining to keep individual students and staff in school.
Finally, the elimination of the statewide PreK-12 school mask requirement does not change how schools respond to COVID cases in schools, address outbreaks, or report data to the PA Department of Health (DOH).
Please be aware that the Laurel Highlands School District continues to be vigilant in the sanitation and decontamination of germs within all school district buildings; all DOH/PDE guidelines will be followed. We take pride and are determined in providing and maintaining a germ-free learning environment for all. In this vein, we continue to utilize bacteria/virus destroying air purifiers, ultraviolet light bacteria/virus destroying mechanisms, and our custodial staff is utilizing the most recent, FDA approved, and up-to-date disinfectants and cleaners daily in all buildings. Likewise, all school bus and district transportation providers are committed and will continue to provide clean and safe transportation for our students on all levels. We will continue with our commitment to establish and maintain a safe and sound learning environment for all students and staff. We thank you for your support.
Dr. Jesse T. Wallace, III