Image

12:26 PM / Tuesday October 4, 2022

10 Sep 2021

Suit challenges Pennsylvania’s new mask mandate for schools

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
September 10, 2021 Category: Stateside Posted by:

By Michael Rubinkam

Associated Press

The Republican leader of the state Senate and a group of parents filed a lawsuit Friday seeking to overturn the Wolf administration’s new mask mandate for Pennsylvania schools.

The governor’s spokesperson dismissed what she called the GOP’s “effort at undermining public heath.’’

The suit, filed in Commonwealth Court, asserts that Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam failed to comply with state law when she ordered masks to be worn in all Pennsylvania public and private schools, as well as child care facilities.

The masking order isn’t valid because it didn’t go through the state’s regulatory review process, the lawsuit said. It also accused the Wolf administration of trying to circumvent newly approved constitutional amendments limiting a governor’s emergency powers.

“The Secretary of Health’s order subjects healthy, non-infected teachers, children, students, staff, and visitors … to the wearing of face coverings,’’ the suit said. The plaintiffs, it said, are “not patients, they are heathy, non-infected children.’’

The  plaintiffs include Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Centre); Rep. Jesse Topper (R-Bedford) ; two private Christian  schools, and  parents  in  three  public school districts — Wyomissing Area in Berks County, and Butler Area and Slippery Rock Area, both in Butler County.

The parents said in affidavits that they intend to send their children to school without masks, claiming Beam’s order is illegal.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction against the masking order. The court scheduled a hearing for Sept. 16.

Lyndsay Kensinger, spokesperson for Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, said Friday that the health secretary’s authority is “clearly outlined in existing law.’’

“We need Republicans to stop spending their time undermining public heath and instead encourage people to get vaccinated,” she added.

The health secretary’s order, which is set to take effect on Tuesday, will require students, teachers and staff to wear face coverings when inside, regardless of vaccination status. Wolf said this week that a universal, statewide order was necessary after most of Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts did not impose their own mask mandates. State health officials said more than 5,000 students have tested positive for the coronavirus since the start of the academic year.

Masking has been the subject of heated debate at recent school board meetings, with parents arguing for and against.

At least one superintendent, in the Hamburg School District, said he will keep masking optional unless the school board tells him to make it mandatory. The board plans to meet Tuesday night.

“I’m between a rock and a hard place, and quite frankly, I don’t know what to do,” Hamburg Superintendent Richard Mextorf said in a video posted on the district’s website Thursday.

“I don’t know what do to here, whether I’m supposed to follow the guidelines from the state, or whether I’m supposed to follow the directives from the board. And the board was very explicit and made it clear they were the only ones who could change the decision relative to masks,” he said.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News

Stateside

Biden signs bill to avert government shutdown, aid Ukraine

October 1, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email By KEVIN FREKING WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden signed into law Friday...

Education

A message from Superintendent Watlington regarding the shooting outside of Roxborough High School

September 30, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email Dear School District of Philadelphia staff and families, The School District of Philadelphia...

Entertainment

The Jacksons in concert on September 10

September 30, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email (Photos/Afea Tucker) The Jacksons — Jackie, Tito, and Marlon, along with a backup...

Diaspora

Puerto Ricans await aid, fret about post-hurricane recovery

September 30, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: A man points to a home that was collapsed by Hurricane...

Go With The-Flo

Lil Wayne is looking to make a big profit from the sale of his waterfront Miami Beach mansion

September 30, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Lil Wayne (Paul Smith / Featureflash / Shutterstock) By Flo Anthony...

Food And Beverage

What’s Cookin’? Vegan Shortbread Cookies

September 30, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email Tweet Share Pin Email Related Posts What’s Cookin’? Chewy Five Ginger Spice Molasses...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff