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New back-to-school guidelines in Pennsylvania

Students must wear masks all day unless social distancing can be done.

LACKAWANNA COUNTY, Pa. — Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine have announced new guidelines for schools, including a mandatory mask rule.

The new guidelines will go into effect for all schools, public and parochial, from day care centers to high schools.

Students must wear masks all day unless social distancing can be done.

Many school districts in our area are navigating how to safely bring students back in the fall.

Governor Wolf announced Monday that all students will have to wear masks while in school. 

Vicki Laskowski of Covington Township has grandchildren in Old Forge.  She thinks it'll be hard for kids to keep it on all day.

"My daughter-in-law has to send two masks a day because he's 10 and he makes a mess. And they're not going to want to keep them on, and then there's going to be those parents that don't prepare them all summer long and the kids are going to be in September like, what do you mean I have to wear a mask all day," said Laskowski.

Jason Greco is going into ninth grade at Scranton High School. He's not happy about the new guidelines.

"I feel like we shouldn't even go back to school until the mask thing, corona is over," said Greco.

The governor says the only time masks don't have to be worn is when the children can be kept at least 6 feet apart from each other, when they are eating, or if they have a medical condition.

Bonnie Hunsinger's children, Mark and Zoey, go to Tunkhannock. They're OK wearing masks now but aren't sure how well it will go for a full day of school.

"I really hope they could come up with something else, because I think really it's going to be more strenuous on them, like I don't see how they're going to be able to study, like put everything into their studies when they have to worry about that mask all the times," said Hunsinger. "I really feel bad for the kids because they're going to have to do it and they shouldn't. It shouldn't be their life."

This new order for wearing masks at school also applies to sports programs.

Coaches, athletes, and spectators must wear face coverings unless they are outdoors and can maintain social distancing.

Athletes are not required to wear face coverings while competing but must wear a mask when on the sidelines, in the dugout, and anytime 6 feet of social distancing is not possible.