Pa. Supreme Court throws out mask mandate for schools

Written by on December 10, 2021

Pa. Supreme Court throws out mask mandate for schools

By The Associated Press
December 10, 2021

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Pennsylvania schoolchildren may soon be attending classes unmasked under a state Supreme Court ruling throwing out the Wolf administration’s statewide mandate that face coverings be worn inside K-12 school buildings.

The justices’ decision was announced Friday but the court has not yet issued a full opinion that explains their reasoning.

They ruled that the masking mandate, which also applies to child care facilities, is not valid because it was imposed by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s acting health secretary without legal authorization.

The practical impact of the decision will depend on which schools and school districts impose their own masking requirements.

The ruling comes as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are up significantly in the Lehigh Valley and across Pennsylvania.

At least one Lehigh Valley school district already has made its own decision on masking. The Nazareth Area School Board last month approved a plan that removes the mask mandate for students and staff. 

In the Bethlehem Area School District, Superintendent Joseph Roy said this week that the district’s requirement of face coverings will remain in place regardless of court decisions.

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