Today, November 10, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania issued a ruling voiding the Face Covering Order for schools issued by PA Acting Secretary of Health Allison Beam on August 31, 2021.
According to a communication from PA Secretary of Education Dr. Noe Ortega, the state is filing an appeal today, which will trigger a stay of the Court’s ruling and keep the order in effect. Additionally, Dr. Ortega directs schools to observe the school masking order throughout the duration of the court’s proceedings.
As such, all individuals in all school buildings must continue to wear a face covering. Per federal mandate, all individuals on district transportation must also continue to wear face coverings.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Office of the Governor, is providing the following statement to schools:
The Secretary of Health's authority is clearly outlined in existing law. The Department of Health has directed counsel to file an appeal today. Filing of the appeal will immediately stay the Commonwealth Court’s decision. School masking is a necessary public health measure to keep children safe and provide them with as much in-person learning in school as possible. Medical experts agree – hospitals and healthcare professionals across the state support the masking requirement. Requiring masks in schools is helping to keep students in classrooms and the virus out and is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
To read the full communication from Dr. Ortega, click here.
More information will be provided as clarification is given by the PA Department of Education and Department of Health.
Sincerely, Dr. Dion Betts Superintendent of Schools Chambersburg Area School District