GOP statehouse heads nix special session on statewide school mask requirement

Written by on August 27, 2021

GOP statehouse heads nix special session on statewide school mask requirement

August 27, 2021

By Sam Dunklau / WITF

Photo by Max Fischer from Pexels

The two heads of the state’s Republican-controlled legislature say they will not call a special session to approve a new statewide mask mandate for schools, essentially saying “no” to Gov. Tom Wolf.

Wolf asked House Speaker Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) and Senate President Jake Corman (R-Centre/Huntingdon/Mifflin/Juniata) to approve a new mask mandate so school boards won’t face extra pressure, and to keep children safe as they get back to school or attend child care.

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And while Cutler and Corman say they’re committed to keeping those places “safe and productive,” both stressed in a statement that local leaders should get to choose whether kids in their areas need to mask up.

Wolf said only 59 districts have put mask requirements in their school safety plans so far.

Some districts aren’t requiring masks despite data that shows the state averaged nearly 2,800 cases a day in the last week, five times as many as a month ago.

The Pennsylvania Education Association says it will keep urging school districts to put masking requirements in place.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health, meanwhile, is offering free group COVID-19 testing to any district that wants it.

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