Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Coal Region Canary
Coal Region CanaryCoal Region Canary

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania

Court Rules Pennsylvania School Mask Mandate is Illegal

pennsylvania mask mandate ruled void by commonwealth court

pennsylvania mask mandate ruled void by commonwealth court

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court has ruled the school masking order issued back in September by Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam as void. Just chalk up another instance in which the administration of Gov. Tom Wolf overstepped its authority in response to the COVID pandemic.

In a 4-1 decision handed down by the court, Beam had no authority to issue the order, in part because Gov. Tom Wolf hadn’t issued a disaster emergency declaration. That was a power voters removed from him in the Primary election.

Judge Christine Fizzano Cannon writes in the court’s majority opinion:

“Because the Acting Secretary did not comply with the requirements of the Commonwealth Documents Law or the Regulatory Review Act in promulgating the Masking Order, the Masking Order is void ab initio.

For this Court to rule otherwise would be tantamount to giving the Acting Secretary unbridled authority to issue orders with the effect of regulations in the absence of either a gubernatorial proclamation of disaster emergency or compliance with the Commonwealth Documents Law and the Regulatory Review Act, as passed by the General Assembly. As this would be contrary to Pennsylvania’s existing law, we decline to do so.”

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The Court was responding to lawsuits filed by parents of students and several school districts in Pennsylvania which challenged Beam’s legal authority to issue the mask mandate.

Pennsylvania Court Voids School Mask Mandate

Wednesday’s decision definitely nullifies the mask mandate that covered all schools. And that should definitely be considered a win for the concerned parents who packed local school board meetings, including in Schuylkill County and surrounding areas, to voice displeasure with the Acting Secretary’s order and their board’s willingness to play along without putting up a fight.

In Schuylkill County and surrounding areas, we witnessed or heard third-party accounts of heated debates at Tamaqua Area, Blue Mountain, Williams Valley, and Hamburg Area school districts. While each of those districts eventually decided to comply with the mask mandate, they all provided an easy opt-out for parents who chose to send their children to school unmasked.

Initially, Tamaqua Area School District was the only one in the state to openly defy Beam’s order. That prompted a chastising and threatening letter from Education Sect. Noe Ortega, who attempted to defend the mask mandate that’s been declared illegal.

(Coal Region Canary photo) Debate got heated at Blue Mountain School District back in September as the school prepared to implement the illegal mask order handed down by Acting Health Sect. Alison Beam.

Despite Wednesday’s decision, it’s likely that some schools will choose to keep a mask mandate in place, especially the few in the state that opted to implement a mask mandate prior to the beginning of the 2021-22 school term.

In Schuylkill County, no schools decided to start the year with a mask mandate in place but chickened out of that decision as soon as they perceived a rise in COVID cases within the district. North Schuylkill and Schuylkill Haven Area school districts chose to put a mask mandate in place prior to Beam’s order on Aug. 31.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Earlier this week, Wolf said the state would reverse the mask mandate on Jan. 17, 2022, as if he had some crystal ball and could predict the future of the virus.

pennsylvania mask mandate tweet

Read the full Commonwealth Court opinion: 294MD21_11-10-21

Subscribe to Coal Region Canary

Get email updates from Coal Region Canary by becoming a subscriber today. Just enter your email address below to get started!

News Tips?

Let us know of news happening in your area. Use our NEWS TIPS ENTRY FORM
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More From The Canary

Local News

His admission is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg in this case.

Local Business News

Redevelopment clearly in the works.

Schuylkill County Man

Two spotlights, actually ... and they were floodlights.

Local News

They always say the key to getting ahead in life is in who you know. Nowhere is that more true than in Schuylkill County,...

Local News

Don't miss Public Comments at the beginning!

Local News

Rovers and machine delivery drivers will get a modest bump in pay.

PA Lottery Numbers

The Powerball jackpot has surged to $850 million for tonight’s drawing, following an increase from $835 million on Wednesday morning due to robust ticket...

Local Business News

Jobs paying up to $18.75 per hour available.

Local News

Is Meuser changing his mind on Ukraine funding?

Local News

Bomb threat was part of a nationwide chain of threats.