Pottsgrove Changes Mask Rules for Outdoor Events

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – Recent updates from Gov. Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Health, which relaxed a limited number of pandemic-related mask-wearing guidelines, are trickling down to also alter current practices in the Pottsgrove School District under a Board of School Directors’ motion approved during its Tuesday (May 12, 2021) meeting.

District Superintendent Dr. William Shirk asked board members to make the changes effective immediately. Only one board member, Bill Parker, objected, suggesting the district’s guidelines should depend on decisions made by health officials and not politicians. Shirk assured the board approval of the proposed changes would be offered by week’s end from the Montgomery County Department of Health.

Here’s what’s changed regarding Pottsgrove outdoor activities as of Tuesday night:

  • During outdoor recess, students can forgo wearing masks, but they will still be required to wear masks going to and coming from recess periods;
  • Adults monitoring outdoor recess will need to continue to wear masks;
  • If recess is held indoors, masks will be required of all students and adults;
  • During athletic practices and competitions, athletes do not need to wear masks;
  • Athletes must wear masks on the sidelines, as well as before and after competitions; and
  • Coaches must wear masks at all times.

As weather warms up, Shirk said, masks are “becoming more and more of an issue with our teams” involved in cardiovascular sports. “They’re really at a disadvantage,” according to Shirk, who said he wanted to “level the playing field” for Pottsgrove teams against competitors.

Shirk also won approval to expand occupancy guidelines for graduation and potentially other events.

  • If held inside, graduates would receive four attendance tickets per family;
  • If held outside at the stadium, graduates could receive up to seven tickets per family. Meeting that number may be a struggle in a “full-blown graduation,” Shirk acknowledged, and remain subject to change as warranted.

“This is a medical issue, and shouldn’t be a political one,” Parker observed. Shirk said the district had obtained preliminary information that Montgomery County health officials “could sign off on this as early as tomorrow (Wednesday, May 13),” but acknowledged they had not done so yet.

“We just feel that, at this point in time, based on nothing political but on doing what’s right for kids … we feel we’ve positioned ourselves to make this,” Shirk said. He cited the district’s earlier success with masking and distancing on the recent Prom Night at Sunnybrook Ballroom.

Photo by Educador Marcossv via Pixabay, used under license