Many schools are now transitioning to full in-person learning, but according to data from Johns Hopkins University, Pennsylvania was one of five states that accounted for about 43% of new coronavirus cases over the last week. That also included New York, New Jersey Michigan, and Florida.
Experts point to the variant first discovered in the UK for the spike. But, health officials in Pennsylvania say we are not a hot spot.
"We have seen that the rolling 7-day case average of cases has stopped increasing, so practically speaking we are once again reaching a plateau. It's a higher plateau than what we would like to see, but it is good news," said Dr. Wendy Braund, the state's COVID-19 response director.
So the Wolf administration feels that with new mitigation recommendations in place from the CDC, that include continuing to wear masks and staying three feet apart, and with teachers vaccinated ahead of schedule, it is safe to open full in-person learning if the districts feel it's safe.
"We continue to emphasize what's important for returning to in-person instruction has always been local conditions," said state Secretary of Education Noe Ortega.
As some districts do open up, there are only two months left in the current school year. The Pennsylvania Department of Education says it is already looking at ways to help train teachers for next year to engage with students to help make up for the lack of in-school education the pandemic caused.