Senator Martin: Statement on Governor Wolf’s School Mask Mandate

(HARRISBURG) – State Senator Scott Martin (R-13), chair of the Senate Education Committee, issued the following statement following the Wolf Administration announcement that masks would be mandatory in school for the foreseeable future:

“Governor Wolf repeatedly said the decision on masking in schools belongs in the hands of the local school boards. His administration’s about-face today is occurring because the Governor does not agree with the decisions the local school boards are making.  So much for local control. Though I believe giving parents the option to decide whether their child should be masked should be paramount, giving school boards the ability was also a better option.  However, with the Governor not giving the school districts clear authority like he did last year, it became very clear over the course of the last week that the Governor was heading in this direction, especially after the letter to the General Assembly asking for them to pass a Statewide School Mask Mandate Law last week. 

In June, I voted to limit the Secretary of Health’s powers under the Disease Prevention and Control Act for this very reason. The Governor quickly vetoed that bill.  Now we know why.  The Governor is ignoring the will of the people in Pennsylvania by bypassing the emergency declaration process and accountability to the General Assembly.  Not only is he not choosing to declare an emergency, but oddly is waiting a week, September 7th, to implement this mask mandate.  If he truly believed things are bad enough to require these actions, why is he waiting while students still are attending school the rest of this week.

My office has already inquired of the Secretary of Education and the Acting Secretary of Health for all the Pennsylvania data that led to this decision and a hearing on such is being planned. 

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