PHILADELPHIA - With the start of a new school year, Philadelphia kids are headed back to their classrooms. However, the city is still facing some health concerns. This year, the city has implemented new measures to combat illness. Philadelphia schools will require students to wear face masks for the first ten days of the new school year. After that, masks will be encouraged but not required. CDC guidelines and the number of cases in the area will determine whether or not masks are necessary.
The first step in preventing disease in children is getting them vaccinated. The Covid-19 test can detect new cases of influenza just a few days after infection. Schools are also sending out information about the vaccination in late August. The vaccine is available to children six months and older. But vaccination rates remain low nationwide. Only 5% of six-month to four-year-old children are currently vaccinated. That number jumps to 37% among five to 11-year-olds and 69% among those between 12 and 17-year-olds.
The Philadelphia school district is following the guidelines set by the CDC for COVID vaccine use, which means that some restrictions will be eased in the coming school year. The city is currently a medium COVID level, so masks may not be required at all times. However, pre-K and Head Start program students will still have to wear masks.