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Important update on PA Dept. of Health face coverings order

Please read this important update from Penn Manor superintendent Mike Leichliter regarding the face coverings order issued by the PA Department of Health for all schools and the process for seeking an exception.

Effective September 7, 2021, the Acting PA Secretary of Health issued an order for all school entities requiring that all students wear a face covering while indoors at school. On Friday, September 10, 2021, the Acting Deputy Secretary of the PA Department of Education sent Pennsylvania school superintendents additional guidance stating that the order is not a mask-optional policy. PDE states: “Any school entity simply permitting a parent’s sign-off without evidence that the student has a medical or mental health condition or disability that precludes the wearing of a face covering is not in compliance with the order. Under the order, school entities must require all individuals, two years of age and older, to wear face coverings unless the individual has a medical or mental health condition or disability that precludes the wearing of a face covering.” 

Penn Manor school building administrators are responding to requests for exceptions to the face covering order that have been submitted by parents/guardians. Supporting evidence of a medical or mental health condition or disability, such as medical documentation or a supporting letter from the student’s treating physician, must be provided in order for an exception request to be considered. According to PA Department of Education guidance, parent notes without evidence of a medical or mental health condition or disability are not sufficient. Please note also that the “Heritage Family Health” form is not sufficient evidence of a student’s medical condition or disability. 

To accommodate our families, the school district has updated its Mask Exception Request process for parents/guardians who are submitting a new request for an exception. We will accept the information on the updated Exception Request Form with the understanding that parents/guardians may need to participate in additional discussions with district personnel and that the school district may need additional documentation from the student’s medical provider. 

Evidence supporting a medical exception must be submitted by the end of the day on September 21, 2021. After that date, all students are required to wear a face covering inside Penn Manor schools unless a medical exception has been granted. When evidence of a medical or mental health condition is received, the district will schedule a meeting to review eligibility for accommodations through the 504 process or the IEP revision process.

The Penn Manor Board of School Directors and school personnel sincerely appreciate your understanding as we work together to balance the needs of all families while implementing the Department of Health order. We appreciate your continued support as Penn Manor School District works to meet the needs of all of our students.


Michael G. Leichliter, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools