In response to the Secretary of Health's face covering Order, the District released an exemption form on September 3rd stating that parents/guardians will be asked for signed medical documentation by an attending doctor to confirm the exemption. Parents/guardians of students not wearing a face covering or failing to submit a signed exemption form received notification by phone starting on September 9th. Letters were sent to the same parents/guardians on September 10th, explaining consequences for students with no face covering or signed exemption form.
On the afternoon of September 10th, all 500 school districts received clarification from the PDE Acting Deputy Secretary that allowing parents to sign face covering exemptions without providing medical evidence violates the DOH Order. The communication stated, “this Order is not a mask optional policy. Any school entity simply permitting a parent's sign-off without evidence that the student has a medical or mental health condition or disability that precludes the wearing of a face covering is not in compliance with the Order.” With this most recent PDE communication, students not adhering to the face covering Order are required to provide signed medical documentation by an attending doctor for their exemption.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, “School entities are expected to enforce the Order as they do other state laws and school rules and policies. Reasonable steps may include developing and implementing a policy, enforcing already existing policies, training staff on conflict management, and monitoring and taking corrective actions in instances of noncompliance among staff, students, or visitors. School entities should follow their local policies and procedures on managing student and staff misconduct.” Please note that failure to comply with this Order is a violation of the student handbook as it exhibits the following:
Failure to assist the entire school staff in operating a safe school for all students.
A frequent or serious act that disrupts the learning environment
Parents/guardians of students that are not wearing a face covering, but submitted signed exemption forms must provide signed medical documentation by an attending doctor. If your child is not wearing a face covering, please submit the required paperwork to the office secretary in your child's school. If you have additional questions, contact your child's building principal.
The face covering Order is not a local decision. Click the link to view a copy of a Pennsylvania Department of Education notice that was sent to at least one Pennsylvania school district for not complying with the Department of Health Order.