Tamaqua Area School District defying governor’s mandate, keeping masks optional

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TAMAQUA, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Governor Tom Wolf’s new mask mandate goes into effect Tuesday making masks required in all public and private schools statewide. However, one school in our area has decided not to follow the governor’s order.

Tamaqua Area School District (TASD), who starts school Tuesday, is keeping masks optional for students and staff despite the governor’s order which says everyone needs to be wearing a mask.

The Tamaqua Area Board of School Directors held an emergency meeting last week. They approved a motion indicating the school would continue abiding by its current health and safety plan.

The board specified in a press release that this means masks would continue to be optional for students and staff despite the governor’s order saying otherwise.“

It really does depend on the area but I really do worry about the legality issues of it all like, if somebody gets sick and they have the mandate in place, who’s to blame? It’s the school. That’s the issue that I have with it,” said senior Julia Bailey.

They are asking students to support one another’s choice to wear a mask or not. The community’s opinion on the matter is divided.

“I think it’s for the safety of those who aren’t vaccinated yet and they should be wearing one. Other than that, I can only see this ending badly,” explained senior Nicholas Behr.

“I believe in it. I think they should have a choice. I think it’s up to them and to me I don’t agree with [masks] anyway. We’ve been going through this way too long and to me, I think they should just keep politics in D.C. and just leave it there and let us out,” stated Dennis Reppert, parent of student.

The legality of the decision still remains in question.

The TASD superintendent stated the following to Eyewitness News:

“Students that choose to wear masks and those who choose not to wear masks should feel comfortable doing so in the educational environment. I ask that students support each other in their choices and show respect to one another. As the support system in the home, I ask that you speak to your child and reinforce these same concepts, promoting cooperation and understanding, without judgment.”

Superintendent Raymond J. Kinder 

For more information on TASD’s health and safety measures, you can click here to learn more.

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