The Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected a mandate for school masks that was supported by the Democratic governor. Friday’s meeting was attended by Tom Wolf and Alison Beam, Acting State Health Secretary.
According to Harrisburg’s PennLive , the court ruled that Beam, who took over the position after Rachel Levine, former Secretary of Health in Pennsylvania, left, didn’t have the power or authority to require students to cover up at school.
This ruling confirmed a decision of the lower Commonwealth Court, which had earlier this year said that Beam’s 1955 Disease Control and Prevention Act did not give him the “the blanket authority to create new rules and regulations out of whole cloth.”
Beth Rementer, a Wolf spokesperson, described the court’s decision to be “extremely disappointing.”
“The administration recognizes that many school districts want to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment for students and staff, and we are hopeful they will make appropriate mitigation decisions moving forward,” Rementer stated.
The Republican legislative majority of Pennsylvania drafted in August a bill that is currently awaiting a floor motion. It would allow Pennsylvanians to “opt out” from any in-school mask mandate.
Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Gettysburg),Chief sponsor stated that, “The culture of fear is being used to divide instead of allowing facts and science to be a guide for parents and families to make decisions in the best interest of their children. It’s the right of parents and legal guardians to gather the facts and decide what they view is in the best interest of their child,” added Mastriano, a retired U.S. Army colonel. Thomas King III, an attorney representing the Republicans in court, heralded Friday’s ruling as a “great day in Pennsylvania for the rule of law.”
The actions of the Wolf administration, the litigants argued had made it impossible for the public to voice their opinions and left the General Assembly unable review the policy’s legality.
In a statement obtained from Lancaster NBC affiliate WGAL by Corman, Corman said that the ruling was “about much more than masks in schools [but] about preventing government overreach.”
The ruling by the Sate Supreme Court gives the discretion about mask up to the school districts.