The school mask mandate scheduled to end on December 8, 2021, will continue indefinitely. The PA Supreme Court of Pennsylvania recently ruled to restore a lower court ruling that will keep the mask mandate on school children in effect.
Timeline of the Pennsylvania School Mask Mandate
August 31, 2021 – Acting Health Secretary of Pennsylvania, issued an order requiring all students, staff, and visitors to wear masks in school, at school functions, and on school grounds (Order took effect September 7, 2021).
October 10, 2021 – Parents of children attending PA schools file a lawsuit against Health Secretary Beam seeking to have the mask mandate deemed unconstitutional.
November 10, 2021 – PA Commonwealth Court rules that Health Secretary Beam’s mask mandate was unconstitutional and did not comply with PA laws about writing or approving legislation.
November 11, 2021 – Governor Tom Wolf appealed the lower court’s ruling and the PA Supreme Court stayed the decision. Meaning the Commonwealth Court’s decision to overrule the mandate does not take effect and therefore the mandate is still enforceable.
November 17, 2021 – The Commonwealth Court ruled that the stay granted to Governor Wolf’s administration is lifted and the mask mandate must end by December 4, 2021.
November 30, 2021 – The Pennsylvania Supreme Court overrules the November 17 decision while the high court considers an appeal. This returns the mask mandate to effect until at least December 8, 2021.
Takeaways for Parents
As of this moment, the mask mandate in PA schools is still in place. The Supreme Court’s ruling keeps the mask mandate in effect until the court can rule on the appeal granted to Governor Wolf’s administration. The ruling stated that the mandate will remain in effect until December 8, 2021, but it is unclear at the moment whether that is a firm deadline.
Governor Wolf’s administration in previous statements hinted at the fact that individual school districts will be able to implement policies regarding mask mandates starting on January 17, 2022.
Options for Parents and Children
Your children will still be required to wear masks while they attend school. As discussed in our previous articles, there are still options to exempt your children from this policy. Parents can apply for both a religious or medical exemption from the mask mandate. There are several elements that need to be met in order to secure an exemption.
This is a constantly unfolding issue and our firm is dedicated to keeping you up to date anytime there are developments. Additionally, if you have questions about regulations or implications on your children or families, please consult a knowledgeable Fiffik Law Group attorney regarding your options. Our firm can help you understand your rights and obligations as well as plan a response to the new policies.