August 11, 2021
MaST Schools Mask Update
Dear MaST Schools Families,
Based on the most recent release of recommendations by the CDC and the Acting Philadelphia Health Commissioners statements today, the Board of Trustees for all MaST Schools and MaST Schools Administration will now be requiring a mask to be worn by everyone in our K-12 schools when indoors and on school transportation, regardless of vaccination status. Today, Philadelphia announced that the city will require masks be worn inside businesses unless the business requires proof of vaccination. The mask mandate takes effect on Thursday at 12 a.m. Acting Health Commissioner, Dr. Cheryl Bettigole stated, “That means everyone in Philadelphia must wear a mask when going into any business or institution, with an exception for those that require vaccinations.”
Currently, the CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Masks will be optional for everybody when outdoors on school grounds, including recess. These masking rules will also apply to athletic teams. For indoor sports, masks will be required. For outdoor sports, masks will be optional. It also remains possible that the leagues our schools participate in may impose stricter rules that would supersede our school requirements listed in this letter. If that happens, we will communicate with those teams and families.
Our Health and Safety Plan approved on July 21st will be updated to reflect the mask requirement. We are also working to update our COVID-19 information page on our websites. We know that the conflicting advice from multiple sources can be frustrating. We are doing our best to follow the current guidance while preparing for the upcoming school year. We do expect a universal masking policy to significantly limit the need for students to quarantine when cases do occur, and this weighed heavily into our decision making. Per the CDC, if an unmasked individual either tests positive or sits next to an individual who tests positive (whether that person is masked or not) in a classroom, the positive case and every person sitting around the positive case (tic-tac-toe board) would need to quarantine with the 3 foot spacing we’re able to create between students. With universal masking, only the positive individual would have to quarantine. Families will be contacted for every student sitting around that student (the tic-tac-toe board), but quarantines will be optional for those families. This will play a huge role in being able to maximize student attendance. As always, the plan is subject to change. Your understanding is always appreciated.
John F. Swoyer III
Chief Executive Officer
MaST Schools Network