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Mask Mandate Still In Effect For All Philadelphia Schools, Day Cares And Early Childhood Education Settings, Health Officials Say

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A mask mandate is still in effect for schools, daycares and early childhood education settings in the City of Philadelphia, despite the Pennsylvania Supreme Court throwing out the statewide school mask mandate on Friday. The Philadelphia Health Department says the indoor mask mandate issued on Aug. 12 is still in force.

The mandate applies to all schools, day cares and early childhood education settings in Philadelphia.

"We are disappointed by the Supreme Court's decision to end the state's mask mandate in schools," Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole said. "One of the most likely reasons that Philadelphia's rates of COVID infection have been lower than most counties in Pennsylvania, despite the fact that we are the most densely populated county in the state and the poorest big city in the country, is our indoor mask mandate. Masks have been found time and again to be protective against COVID-19 transmission. This protection is particularly important in indoor settings where not everyone may be vaccinated and is crucial now, given the wave of COVID cases hitting the country. That's why all Philadelphia schools, day cares, and early childhood educations settings are still mandated to require masks. With the combination of indoor mask mandate and our high vaccine rate, we hope to get through this winter safely."

On Friday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out a statewide mask mandate for schools. The justices agreed with a lower court's decision that the acting health secretary did not have the authority to issue the mandate for schools from Kindergarten through 12th grades.

This means the decision about masks is now up to individual school districts.

The ruling also applies to child care facilities.

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