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August 17, 2020

This message was shared for the 2020-21 school year.

Dear Colleague,

As you know, the health and safety of Pennsylvania’s school communities is top priority, and the guidance we release to support and maintain the health and safety of school communities is rooted in science, data, and research. As more data and research becomes available, the information that becomes guidance must evolve – something we’ve shared with you since we began releasing reopening guidance.

Last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released an update to their guidance strongly recommending children age two and older should wear face coverings at all times to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Prior guidance we released in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) stated students in schools could remove their face coverings as long as six feet of social distancing could be maintained. Given this recent change from the AAP, and consistent with the Secretary of Health’s Face Covering Order issued on July 1, 2020, DOH is requiring students wear face coverings at all times while in school, even when six feet of social distancing can be achieved. There are limited exceptions.

Please email any questions you have to

Thank you for your continued commitment to ensuring a safe learning environment for your students and staff.

Matt Stem, Deputy Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education