Punxsutawney Area Elementary School. (Photo by Larry McGuire/The Punxsutawney Spirit)

PUNXSUTAWNEY — In a letter released Friday, administrators at the Punxsutawney Area Elementary School updated their COVID-19 policies to include a mask break and desk shield plan.

The update came after the school board on Sept. 7 passed a motion directing the administration to allow students to have mask breaks when at their desks, working alone and isolated from others, so long as they are using district-supplied desk shields.

In addition to the original exceptions for mask-wearing — a doctor’s note indicating a child should be excused, or when outside the building or eating — students may now request a mask break from their teacher, who can allow it provided the student obtains and properly sets up a desk shield, remains seated and does not leave without putting the mask back on, keeps the mask break at three to five minutes, and is spaced six feet apart in the classroom.

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