Central Bucks School District to comply with Pennsylvania's mask mandate

"This is a necessary step to keep our teachers and students safe and in the classroom," said Gov. Tom Wolf.
DOYLESTOWN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- School officials at the Central Bucks School District, who only last week voted five to four to make masks optional as they worked on a plan based on metrics, now acknowledge those efforts are moot.

The district's COVID-19 mitigation efforts will reflect the mandatory masking, as mandated by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf's Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam.

Even after the announcement, things got heated at Tuesday's school meeting. The board president even threatened to clear the room.

"Mask mandates from Governor Wolf or the secretary are not law, we do not comply, and we do not consent," said parent Victoria Satterfield of Buckingham.

Mitzi Brown, a parent from Doylestown, said, "Please, enough is enough, mandates can be overturned. You did it before, no more child abuse."

However, parent Calvin Lew said, "We know that masks work, social distancing and good hand hygiene work to prevent the spread of the virus."

RELATED: Pennsylvania reverses course, mandates masks in K-12 schools and day cares

In May, voters in Pennsylvania voted to strip Wolf of his emergency powers to declare mandates beyond 21 days without the approval of the state legislature.

After failing last week to convince the Republican-controlled legislature to declare a mask mandate for all Pennsylvania schools, Tuesday, Wolf announced his acting secretary of health had issued a mask mandate by her own authority under the Disease Prevention And Control Law.

"This is a necessary step to keep our teachers and students safe and in the classroom," said Wolf.

But Republican legislators vow to fight, arguing the action secretary of health has no such powers. Scott Martin is chairman of the Senate Education Committee.

"That should be troubling on many different fronts, not just for masks in school, but does she have the power now to shut down Pennsylvania businesses?" asked Republican State Senator Scott Martin, District 13.

There are strong indications from Republicans that there will be litigation, and the matter may ultimately be resolved by courts.

But for now, masks will be required at all Pennsylvania schools.

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