On Tuesday, November 17, 2020, Dr. Rachel Levine, PA Secretary of Health, issued two new orders related to the nation’s fight against COVID-19. The first order pertains to travel and second measure relates to an update to the current face covering mandate.
NEW TRAVEL ORDER: effective 12:01am on Friday, November 20, 2020
Under the new order, testing requirements are being implemented that anyone who enters Pennsylvania from another state or country must have a negative COVID test result within 72 hours prior to arriving in Pennsylvania. If the person cannot get a test or the test is positive, he or she must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival to Pennsylvania.
Prior to this new Travel Order, the travel quarantine was only a recommendation. Effective Friday, the Travel Order requires individuals to either produce negative test results or quarantine for 14 days. As all states’ COVID cases have significantly increased, this new Travel Order replaces the list of hotspot states. We realize that many of you will be traveling during the holidays so we wanted to make sure that everyone was aware of this new Order.
There are a few travel exceptions to this Order:
- Individuals traveling to and from PA for work
- Individuals traveling to and from PA for medical reasons (including providing comfort and support to a patient)
- Military personnel traveling to PA by order or directive of a state or Federal military authority
- Individuals in transit through PA to another destination, provided that the time spent in PA is only the amount of time necessary to complete the transit, make use of travel services, such as a highway rest stop, or make necessary travel connections
For additional clarification, please use the following link for the FAQs on the PA Dept. of Health website: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Travelers.aspx
NEW/UPDATED FACE COVERING MANDATE: effective 12:01am on November 18, 2020
Under this updated Order, Dr. Levine strengthened Pennsylvania’s current Mask Order. Here are just some of the highlights:
- addresses school district obligations
- all employees, students, parents/visitors, etc. are required to wear a face covering both indoors and outdoors
- school districts are required to take reasonable steps to enforce the Order’s requirements
- provide reasonable accommodations to employees who cannot wear face coverings due to a medical condition
- provides new definitions of “face covering” and “alternative face covering”
- face covering: means covering the nose and mouth with material that is secured to the head with ties, straps, or loops over the ears or is wrapped around the lower face. It can be made from a variety of synthetic or natural fabrics, including cotton, silk, or linen. It may be factory-made, sewn by hand, or be improvised from household items including, but not limited to, scarves, bandanas, t-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels.
- alternative to face covering: may include a plastic face shield that covers the nose and mouth, extends below the chin and to the ears, and leave no exposed gap between the forehead and the shield’s headpiece.
- individuals must wear face coverings when working in any space where food is prepared, packaged for sale, or prepared for distribution to others
- individuals must wear face coverings indoors on in an enclosed space where another person or persons who are not members of the individual’s household are present in the same space, irrespective of physical distance
- individuals must wear face coverings outdoors with others who are not members of a person’s household and unable to maintain sustained physical distance
- how it applies to athletes and sports activities
- everyone who participates in sport activities including coaches, athletes (including cheerleaders), and spectators must wear a face covering, unless they fall under an exception in Section 3 of the Order (review the above link)
Indoors: coaches, athletes (including cheerleaders), and spectators must wear face coverings, when indoors and where another person or persons who are not members of the individual’s household are present in the same space, irrespective of physical distance. This includes while actively engaged in workouts, competition, and on the sidelines, etc.
Outdoors: coaches, athletes (including cheerleaders), and spectators must wear face coverings if they cannot maintain sustained physical distance from persons outside of their household. This includes while actively engaged in workouts, competition, and on the sidelines, in the dugout, etc. If sustained six-foot distancing can be maintained, face coverings may be removed when outdoors.
Please note that after reviewing the above definitions of “face covering” and “alternative to face covering,” a face shield is clearly NOT considered a face covering however, face shields are alternatives to face coverings and may be used as a medical accommodation. Therefore, effective Monday, November 23, 2020, all SASD employees MUST wear an appropriate face covering as described above. You will need to contact and provide the HR Department with appropriate medical documentation to request an accommodation for a face shield.
For additional clarification, please use the following link for the FAQs on the PA Dept. of Health website: