PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A new mask mandate takes in effect in Pennsylvania today, aimed at controlling the spread of COVID-19 among children in schools.
Starting today, all students, staff, and teachers are required to wear masks in schools.
The state’s mandate is being met with lawsuits from parents, and with planned protests from students.
Governor Tom Wolf’s administration issued the order for schools, as well as for early learning programs and child care providers.
Effective today: Masks are required in all schools and early learning and childcare programs in Pennsylvania.
This will keep kids in school, parents at work, and communities safe.
Thank you to the school districts that previously made the decision to require masking.
— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) September 7, 2021
The hope is that the mask mandate will help protect students and help keep schools open as the number of COVID-19 cases increases.
Governor Wolf says he wanted school boards to make the call, but there hasn’t been a unified decision and parents have been voicing their concerns
Some parents and even state leaders have filed a lawsuit in the Commonwealth court.
Parents in Butler County, along with state senator Jake Corman are involved in the case, saying the acting health secretary doesn’t have the power to make this decision.
The attorney representing those who filed the lawsuit says the decision should be up to the parents or individual school boards.
“We’re going to have, on Tuesday, people that are healthy that are going to show up at school, and they’re not going to want to wear masks, and I suspect from school district to school district, there’s going to be numbers of those people doing so,” said Attorney Thomas W. King III.
The case will go before the Commonwealth Court in Harrisburg on September 16.
In the meantime, some students at Greater Latrobe and Derry Area High Schools are planning to walk out this morning in protest of the mask mandate.
The students say they hope it will encourage the school board to give students a choice and make the wearing of masks optional.