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Students leave during the dismissal at Smith-Wade-El Elementary School in the School District of Lancaster on Monday, Aug. 23, 2021. The Lancaster city school board approved universal masking even before the Pennsylvania Department of Health imposed a statewide mask mandate for schools and child care facilities.

Reported COVID-19 cases are climbing at the majority of Lancaster County school districts days after the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s school mask order went into effect.

The order, which requires all individuals, vaccinated or not, to wear a mask in school buildings, went into effect Tuesday. With that said, it’s not entirely clear how many students are going maskless without repercussions, as some schools are not strictly enforcing the order.

Many county school districts – especially those that started the school year mask-optional – are still working through a tricky exemption process and, therefore, are temporarily allowing students to attend without a mask even if they haven’t submitted a doctor’s note proving a mask would cause or exacerbate a health issue or other disability.

Fourteen county school districts – everyone but Columbia Borough, Manheim Township and School District of Lancaster – began the school year with mask-optional policies. These districts have faced intense pressure from parents infuriated by another government mask mandate to flat-out ignore the order.

Cases grew this week at, at least, nine county school districts – Columbia Borough, Conestoga Valley, Donegal, Eastern Lancaster County, Hempfield, Manheim Central, Penn Manor, Pequea Valley, Solanco and Warwick.

The number of quarantines are also ballooning in certain areas. Solanco, for example, has reported 157 individuals in quarantine, including 87 at Solanco High School. Elizabethtown Area has reported 215 quarantines this week, including 135 at Elizabethtown Area Middle School.

Here are the number of COVID-19 cases reported by Lancaster County school districts this week. (School districts beginning with an asterisk may include cases from the past two weeks, as separate data for this week was unavailable.)

— Cocalico: 13 (seven at Cocalico High School, five at Cocalico Middle School and one at Denver Elementary School).

— Columbia Borough: 16 (10 at Columbia High School/Middle School Hill Campus, four at Columbia Middle School Taylor Campus and two at Park Elementary School).

— *Conestoga Valley: 22 (eight at Conestoga Valley High School, four each at Brownstown Elementary School and Smoketown Elementary School, three at Huesken Middle School, two at Fritz Elementary School and one at Leola Elementary School).

— Donegal: 23 (13 at Donegal High School, four at Donegal Intermediate School and three each at Donegal Junior High School and Donegal Primary School).

— *Eastern Lancaster County: 31 (18 at Garden Spot Secondary Campus, seven at New Holland Elementary School, five at Blue Ball Elementary School and one at Brecknock Elementary School).

— Elizabethtown Area: 21 (seven at Bear Creek School, six at Elizabethtown Area High School, five at Elizabethtown Area Middle School, two at Rheems Elementary School and one at Mill Road Elementary School).

— Ephrata Area: Two (one each at Ephrata High School and Ephrata Intermediate School).

— *Hempfield: 20 (eight at Farmdale Elementary School, four at Centerville Elementary School, three at Landisville Middle School, two each at Centerville Middle School and Landisville Intermediate Center, and one at Hempfield High School).

— Lancaster: 14 (four at Wheatland Middle School; two each at Lafayette Elementary School, Martin School and McCaskey Campus; and one each at Fulton Elementary School, Ross Elementary School, Washington Elementary School and Wickersham Elementary School).

— *Manheim Central: 27 (11 at Doe Run Elementary School, seven at Manheim Central Middle School, five at Manheim Central High School and four at Baron Elementary School).

— Manheim Township: Nine (three at Manheim Township High School, two each at Bucher Elementary School and Nitrauer Elementary School, and one each at Brecht Elementary School and Reidenbaugh Elementary School). 

— Octorara Area: Five (three at Octorara Primary Learning Center and two at Octorara Junior-Senior High School).

— Penn Manor: 10 (three each at Central Manor Elementary School and Penn Manor High School, two at Manor Middle School, and one each at Pequea Elementary School and Marticville Middle School).

— Pequea Valley: 13 (six each at Paradise Elementary School and Pequea Valley High School, and one at Salisbury Elementary School).

— *Solanco: 13 (seven at Solanco High School, and two each at Bart-Colerain Elementary School, Providence Elementary School and Smith Middle School).

— Warwick: 26 (eight at Warwick High School, six at Lititz Elementary School, four each at Warwick Middle School and John R. Bonfield Elementary School, and two each at John Beck Elementary School and Kissel Hill Elementary School).

Data from Lampeter-Strasburg was not available.

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