The mask mandate set by the Wolf administration is facing a lawsuit that seeks to overturn it. The Republican leader of the state Senate and a group of parents filed a lawsuit Friday claiming that Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam failed to comply with state law when she ordered masks to be worn in all Pennsylvania public and private schools, as well as day care facilities.
According to a report by Fox 43, the lawsuit said that the masking order is not valid because it did not go through the state’s regulatory review process. It also accused the Wolf administration of trying to circumvent newly approved constitutional amendments limiting a governor’s emergency powers.
“The Secretary of Health’s order subjects healthy, non-infected teachers, children, students, staff, and visitors (…) to the wearing of face coverings,” the suit said. The plaintiffs, it said, are “not patients, they are heathy, non-infected children.”
The governor’s spokesperson dismissed what she called the GOP’s “effort at undermining public health.”
The plaintiffs include Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre; Rep. Jesse Topper, R-Bedford; two private Christian schools; and parents in three public school districts, Wyomissing Area in Berks County, and Butler Area and Slippery Rock Area, both in Butler County.
The parents said in affidavits that they intend to send their children to school without masks, claiming Beam’s order is illegal.
Undermining public health
Meanwhile, Lyndsay Kensinger, spokesperson for Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, said that the health secretary’s authority is “clearly outlined in existing law.” Kessinger blamed Republicans for undermining public health. “We need Republicans to stop spending their time undermining public health and instead encourage people to get vaccinated.”
You can read: Mask mandate for Pennsylvania K-12 schools
The mask order requires students, teachers and staff to wear face coverings when inside, regardless of vaccination status.
Gov. Tom Wolf has justified the order because most of Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts did not impose their own mask mandates. State health officials said more than 5,000 students have tested positive for the coronavirus since the start of the academic year.