With CDC Guidance Change, Pottsgrove Ends Masking

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – “Effective immediately,” as of Sunday (Feb. 27, 2022) at 11:07 a.m., wearing protective COVID-19 face masks in Pottsgrove School District buildings or on its buses “will no longer be required,” Superintendent Dr. David Finnerty announced on his blog and in a message to all district e-mail recipients.

The ability to leave masks behind, for those who desire to do so, was made possible by new guidance issued Friday (Feb. 25) from the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Finnerty wrote.

“The new CDC guidance replaced (its former) “Level of Community Transmission” with a new metric, (called) COVID-19 Community Level,” he noted. The community level designation is based upon a combination of three measurements:

  • New COVID-19 admissions per 100,000 population in the past 7 days,
  • The percentage of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, and
  • The total of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population in the past 7 days.

Community level categorizes risk in three levels: high, medium, and low. Universal masking, in which everyone is required to wear a mask, is recommended “only the high category,” according to Finnerty, and because the current community level within Montgomery County is rated as medium universal masking is not a mandate.

During its Tuesday (Feb. 22) meeting, Finnerty pointed out, the district Board of School Directors asked district administrators to update Pottsgrove’s health and safety plan “to include additional metrics to measure the risk of COVID in our schools and community.” The change in CDC guidance means the requested update is already complete, he explained.

A special board meeting, to be held virtually, is being scheduled for Wednesday (March 2) at 7:30 p.m. to seek board approval of the update.

Finnerty also said he was “very proud” Pottsgrove was “able to keep our schools open every day this school year and to have only canceled one event due to COVID.” The community, he said, “responded to the often divisive issue of masking and other COVID mitigation steps. We engaged one another, often passionately, but avoided the disruptive, disorderly conduct so many other districts have experienced.”

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