Cheltenham, Lower Merion, North Penn Among Region’s School Districts with Fewest Granted Mask Exemptions

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The mask debate is continuing to play out in the region’s schools, where Cheltenham, Lower Merion, and North Penn are among the school districts with the fewest granted exemptions, writes Maddie Hanna for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Cheltenham is yet to provide any exemptions, primarily because officials were not aware of anyone that had sought exemptions.

Lower Merion has reported fewer than a dozen exemptions, while the 13,000-student North Penn granted most of its 47 requests. All of them are allowable by the state for the cases where wearing a mask “would either cause a medical condition, or exacerbate an existing one.”

In contrast, Council Rock School District in neighboring Bucks County has approved exemptions for close to 20 percent of its 10,500 students.

Both the mask mandate and the exemptions have spurred lawsuits, the first from the mandate opponents, including a top Republican leader. The second from parents of children with disabilities who argue that schools are not adequately complying.

“I think it has to do with the political climate in a community,” said James Crisfield, superintendent in the Wissahickon School District. “It doesn’t have to do with the schools.”

Read more about the mask issue in The Philadelphia Inquirer.