Pennsylvania school mask mandate already met with objectors, lawsuit in Commonwealth Court

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania

PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — The State Health Department’s school mask order just went into effect on Tuesday. At least one lawsuit against it has already been filed and some students are simply refusing to wear masks.

There are certainly mixed feelings about this mandate. Some students showed up to school without masks on Tuesday as a protest. Some districts sent those students home. Meanwhile, a few schools have pushed back the start date of the state mandate so it can be fully reviewed.

A handful of protestors outside the capitol were protesting the state mandate requiring students to wear masks in school. Collette Medlin is a mom of two she was not at the protest but agrees, “The majority of schools all throughout the state of Pa. left masks optional. Which is how it should be, up to the parents,” Medlin said.

The mandate does allow for an exemption for medical or mental health conditions or disability. Medlin used this for her son. “He has been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder so that on top of autism and just the social aspect of autism he needs to see a whole face, he needs his face uncovered and that’s why,” Medlin said.

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Thomas King is Special Counsel for the Amistad Project which has filed a lawsuit arguing the Pa. Secretary of Health has no legal authority to impose a statewide mask mandate in schools. “The way this was handled by the administrations has been abominable,” King said. “If you look at the order it tells them not to admit people that are not wearing masks and it suggests to them that these people should not be permitted to enter the schools. These are kids and these are students that have rights to be educated in Pennsylvania and these are families that are entitled to make these kinds of decisions.”

The governor insists the state has the power. The next step, a hearing will be held on September 16 in the Commonwealth Court. The lawsuit is asking for an injunction to either sta or stop the order statewide.

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