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American News Dec 10, 2021 8:47 PM EST

Pennsylvania Supreme Court rules against mask mandate for school children

On Friday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled to remove a mask mandate for school children put into place by the Wolf administration.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court rules against mask mandate for school children
Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

On Friday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled to remove a mask mandate for school children put into place by the Wolf administration.

The court ruled that the mask mandate is not valid because it was imposed by Democratic Governor Tom Wolf's acting health secretary without legal authorization, according to ABC 6.

"The practical impact of the decision will depend on which schools and school districts impose their own masking requirements," ABC 6 wrote.

The state Supreme Court justices upheld a lower-court ruling that the acting state health secretary Alison Beam, did not possess the authority to require masks, did not follow state legislation regarding enacting regulations, and acted without a required existing disaster emergency declared by the governor in place.

The lower-court found Pennsylvania's disease control law does not give health secretaries "the blanket authority to create new rules and regulations out of whole cloth, provided they are related in some way to the control of disease or can otherwise be characterized as disease control measures."

"The lawsuit was filed by Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre; state Rep. Jesse Topper, R-Bedford; two religious schools; three public school districts; and several parents of schoolchildren," ABC 6 reported.

The litigants of the lawsuit argued that Beam's actions did not allow the public to voice their opinion, violated state law, and left the General Assembly unable to review the policy in its entirety.

The attorney general's office, which represented Beam, said there does not appear to be anything that would prevent schools and school districts from issuing their own mask mandates.

Wolf said in November that he intended to retune the mask decision authority over to schools in January. Masks would still be required though in child care centers and early learning programs.

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