November 10, 2021
Earlier today, the Commonwealth Court issued a ruling voiding Acting Secretary Beam's school mask order. The state is filing an appeal today, which will trigger a stay of the Court's ruling and keep the order in effect. Schools should continue to observe the school masking order throughout the duration of the court's proceedings.
For additional context and background, 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 our 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.
Earlier this week, Governor Tom Wolf announced that on January 17, 2022, it is anticipated that the commonwealth's K-12 school mask requirement will return to local control. Upon the expiration of the statewide mandate, schools may continue requiring mask-wearing based on local policy and CDC guidance.