PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Punxsutawney Area School District issued its official plan for use of desk shields and mask breaks in schools.

For the Punxsutawney Area Elementary School, the students will wear masks or face shields at all times during the school day except if the student has valid note from their PCP excusing them from wearing a mask, they are outside of the building, while eating food, or the student requests a mask break and the teacher allows it.

The following requirements must be met for a teacher to allow a mask break; the student obtains a desk shield and property sets it up on the desk, the student stays seated at the desk, the student agrees the mask break is for three to five minutes or less, and the students are spaced six feet apart in the classroom or hallway.

Teachers will attempt to provide and accommodate mask breaks by permitting all students who are eating to remove their masks, which provides mask breaks two times a day for 15 minutes each. Students will be permitted to remove their masks if they choose while outside, and while using desk shields.

At teacher’s discretion, they may also allow students to work in the halls or outside depending on the circumstances and whether students can be socially distanced and properly supervised.

The Punxsutawney Area High School is following extremely similar protocols. Per the school board’s motion on Sept. 7, the school will make desk shields available in each classroom for the purpose of allowing periodic mask breaks when requested by the students when working independently in class.

In the high school, students will wear masks or face shields at all times except if they have an excuse note from their PCP, they are outside, they are eating, or they request a mask break and the teacher allows it.

Teachers will allow mask breaks in the high school once the student has obtained a desk shield and properly set it up, the students stays seated at the desk, they agree the mask break will be for three to five minutes or less, and the students are spaced six feet apart.

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