To wear or not to wear? That’s the question as Pennsylvania’s mask mandate will soon expire

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MONTOURSVILLE, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Pennsylvania lawmakers could leave the decision about requiring masks up to the school districts and many parents are divided on this issue.

The debate on masking students in schools has been going on for well over a year now. Some parents are in favor and others say it should be up to the kids and parents, not the school districts.

Earlier this week, a Pennsylvania Commonwealth Judge ruled that mask mandates for K-12 schools and child facilities will end on December 4.

Governor Wolf said in January the decision to mask students will be left up to the school districts.

In Lycoming County, the Montoursville Area School District has posted a statement on their website in regards to the issue.

It reads in part, “The current legal status is that the health order is in effect and legally binding on all school districts. Consequently, the Montoursville Area School District will return to mandatory masking on Thursday, November 18, 2021. The masking will remain in effect until the courts rule otherwise or the Secretary of Health lifts the order.”

However, many parents remain divided. Some say this decision shouldn’t be up to the school districts.

“I’m completely against it. I think if the parents want them to wear masks, then fine, but I don’t think they should be forced,” explained parent, Jason Ranck.

“Individual parents are going to vary, you know? The next guy is different, everyone’s got their own opinion on it ya know? So, I don’t feel like it’s right for the school board to step in and tell the parents what to do,” said grandparent, Donald Harding.

Others disagree and say schools have the right to decide.

“This is just one more additional thing. So, I believe that they should mandate masks because people aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do to get rid of this pandemic and it’s still here because people are still dying,” said grandparent, Gail Smith,

“If it makes other people feel safe or whatever, then it’s just what you need to do. You need to do it,” said parent, Taylor Ward.

One parent adds, even if schools don’t enforce the mask order, he’ll still want his children masked.

“My kids got to wear masks. I bought them all masks just so they can wear them because I don’t want my kids sick. They haven’t had COVID yet and, knock on wood, I don’t want them to get COVID, said parent, Paul Kennon

The Governor’s Administration has sent an appeal for the mask mandate to the State’s Supreme Court.

For now, students are still required to wear masks in schools.

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