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Central Bucks School District: “COVID is something we need to learn to live with”


With schools opening in about a month, the Central Bucks School District said Tuesday, masks will be optional and vaccines are not required for students or staff in the approaching school year.
In a letter to families, Acting Superintendent Abram M. Lucabaugh, said the district’s intention is to “reopen with full in-person education, including regular lunch and academic bell schedules, extracurricular activities and sports, as was the case prior to COVID.”
As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country, the American Academy of Pediatrics on Monday released new guidance for schools that supports in-person learning and recommends universal masking in school of everyone over the age of 2, regardless of vaccination status – a stricter position than that taken this month by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Pennsylvania’s departments of health and education require school districts to submit a draft health and safety plan for the 2021-2022 school year by July 31. Lucabaugh said both agencies continue to advise schools to follow revised guidance for K-12 schools released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The guidance, he said, is based on local levels of community transmission, vaccination coverage and “policies and regulations” when creating plans for mitigating COVID-19.
The draft plan will be on the school board’s July 27 agenda. The feasibility of a virtual option for elementary students is also slated for discussion. There will be no virtual option for students age 12 and over, according to earlier district announcements.

Central Bucks school board made a controversial decision in the closing days of the school last year when, in a quickly called special meeting, the directors voted 4-3 to make masks optional for the last week of classes.
The vote came just a few days after a leadership shake-up on the board that shocked many on the board and the larger community. The president and vice president were removed from office and replaced with supporters of eliminating the mask mandate. Dr. David Damsker, Bucks County’s health director, agreed with the move, citing declining COVID -19 cases.
Currently, COVID cases among unvaccinated people are on the rise in Bucks County.
Recognizing the strong feelings around the issues of masking and vaccines, the acting superintendent said, “The education of our 18,000 students is of utmost importance, and we acknowledge our awesome responsibility in setting the conditions for their academic and interpersonal growth.”