In recent weeks, there have been several decisions made at the State level regarding masking requirements in schools. Here is a summary of what has occurred and where we are currently:
- On August 31, Acting Secretary of the PA Department of Health (PADOH), Alison Beam, implemented an order mandating the wearing of masks indoors in all public and private school settings, as of September 7.
- On November 10, the Commonwealth Court ruled in favor of petitioners who filed a petition against the order. The order was found to be unlawful.
- On November 10, an appeal to the Commonwealth Court’s decision was filed by the Acting Secretary, triggering the automatic stay allowing the masking order to remain in effect throughout the appeal process.
- On November 16, the Commonwealth Court entered an order holding that the automatic stay will be lifted on December 4, 2021.
The dates below reflect anticipated events based on our current knowledge:
- In response to the series of legal decisions, the masking order of September 7 remains in effect until at least December 4. At which time masking decisions shift back to local control unless Governor Wolf pursues the emergency rulemaking procedure. If he does, the masking order will remain in effect until the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decides the issue and the regulatory period process takes place, or until January 17, 2022, when Governor Wolf has stated he will rescind the PADOH Masking Order. It will then once again become a local decision to decide the requirements for masking when indoors in any of the District’s schools.
- By November 22, Districts should learn whether the mask mandate will extend beyond December 4.
Needless to say, this is an ever-evolving situation. We will do our best to keep you informed as the situation continues to develop.