PA Supreme Court throws out school mask mandate

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HARRISBURG, DAUPHIN COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Pennsylvanian children may soon be able to unmask in the classroom.

Friday the Supreme Court threw out the statewide mask mandate in schools, which said face coverings must be worn inside K through 12 buildings and child care facilities. The original order started on September 7.

The Supreme Court ruled that the mask mandate was imposed by Acting Health Secretary Allison Beam without legal authorization and she did not follow the right protocol when instituting the mandate.

According to legal experts, the mask mandate would have been legal if the state was still in a state of emergency.

Officials say that the acting health secretary had no power to impose the masking decision for school-age children.

The order was supposed to be lifted on December 8 but with the rise of omicron, it was then pushed to January 17.

Schools will now be able to make their own decision as to if they want to require children to continue to wear face coverings in the classroom.

Basketball wasn’t the only thing on the minds of parents and students at Friday night’s girl’s basketball game between the Wilkes-Barre area and Wyoming seminary.

Just hours earlier, a high court ruling in Harrisburg struck down a k-12 mask mandate. Some cheer the decision.

“I personally don’t believe in my daughter having to wear a mask. I think it hurts the rights of individuals,” said Bo Krawczeniuk, a parent.

“I feel like we’re gonna get shut down again, because nobody wears a mask outside of school so I feel like just wearing it in school, it’s not making a big difference,” stated Mekhi Nelson, a sophomore.

Others don’t mind the mask mandate being struck down as long as there is compromise.

“I don’t have a problem with them not wearing the masks, but if you’re vaccinated, I think that you should be able to go without it if you want. But, as long as you’re vaccinated, that’s the big thing,” explained Bob holden, a parent.

“I’m fully vaccinated, I have my booster and everything, so I feel like students that are fully vaccinated shouldn’t have to wear it,” said Keyana Amigon, a senior.

While school districts are still free to impose their own mask mandates, many are questioning the reasoning behind the ruling, as covid cases continue to surge.

“I still feel nervous about it because some people I know like don’t really care at all about wearing masks,” said Alyvia Dutter, a senior.

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

There is no official word what the Wilkes-Barre area plans to do.

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