Pennsylvania’s school-mask mandate will stay in place for now, state Supreme Court says
The court granted a request from Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration to keep the mandate in place while it appeals a lower court ruling striking down the requirement.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court said Tuesday that the state’s school-mask mandate can remain in place at least for the next week while Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration appeals a lower-court ruling striking down the requirement.
The order followed a request from Wolf’s administration to keep the mandate in place while it appeals the Commonwealth Court ruling that faulted the state Health Department for how it imposed the requirement.
Siding with Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R., Centre) and other parents, the Commonwealth Court said Nov. 10 that acting Health Secretary Alison Beam had overstepped her authority in ordering masking at the start of the school year by failing to follow the state’s procedures for implementing new regulations. The court later set Dec. 4 as the day for the mandate to be lifted, an action sought by Corman.
The state’s highest court said the mandate could stay in effect pending consideration of the appeal, which is scheduled for oral arguments Dec. 8. “Nothing in this order shall be construed as a position regarding the merits of this appeal,” the court said.
Had the mandate expired Saturday, school districts would have faced the decision of whether to require masking. Some, including Philadelphia, have indicated no immediate plans to lift masking, though mandates have remained a fraught topic in a number of area communities.
Wolf said earlier this month that he expected to lift the state mandate Jan. 17. That announcement came prior to the Commonwealth Court ruling.