Lycoming DA will not prosecute those who defy mask order

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LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — From the start of the pandemic wearing masks has become a flashpoint and now that children are back in school some feel they should be masked and others say it should be optional.

Last week Lycoming County’s District Attorney Ryan Gardner released a statement explaining parents and juveniles will not be prosecuted for refusing to wear a mask while in schools.

Please rest assured that the Lycoming County District Attorney’s Office will not prosecute a parent or juvenile for her or his refusal to wear a mask at school. The Department of Health’s Order of August 31, 2021 is ambiguous with respect to enforcement. The decision whether to mask any child in school is best made between the parent and members of the school’s administration and not the Governor, law enforcement or the District Attorney’s Office.

Distric Attorney Ryan Gardener

Masking mandates have left many people divided.

“I mean I used to be a stepfather and it’s like, I wouldn’t like my kids to go to a school district and be forced to wear a mask,” said Jersey Shore resident Nathan Shroat.

“Well, I think if the kids want to wear them that they could. You know as long as they have their shots,” said William Walker who lives in Williamsport.

Full statement from Lycoming County District Attorney

According to the CDC, children over the age of 12 can get vaccinated. Those between 2 and 12 years old are recommended to wear a mask in public spaces and around people they don’t live with. However, some believe it should be the parent’s decision.

“I really don’t think he should be prosecuting people for it. I think it’s you know a personal choice. I’m not for it or against it. I mean I don’t wear a mask just because I don’t want to,” said South Williamsport resident Justin Harner.

Lisa Hockaday recovered from covid and says she knows the dangers of the disease and disagrees with the da’s announcement.

“It’s mostly the kids, not the adults, it’s mostly the children getting sick from it. So I think they need to be wearing a mask in all schools and in public,” said Hockaday.

One resident says wearing masks in schools should be determined by the number of covid cases in the area.

“A scenario where it’s pretty much under control and you’re not really getting a lot of cases and infections then it’s a lot more easy to make the decision to wear it or not,” said Shawn Watkins who lives in Williamsport.

The DA also said the decision to not prosecute doesn’t affect what schools choose to do if a student doesn’t wear a mask.

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