Court ruling lifts Pennsylvania school mask mandate December 4

Governor Wolf has said he would lift the mandate in January and allow districts to make their own decisions.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- As the mask mandate issue now makes its way through the legal system, many school districts say even when the mandate expires, they expect their students to continue to wear masks.

"We are going to continue to masking until the guidance suggests otherwise," said Dr. William Hite, Superintendent for The School District of Philadelphia.

Masking in schools continues to be a hot topic.

Some parents are clearly against them.

"Here we go again, it's the parents' decision," said Leonard Tomassone of Upper Darby, Delaware County. "You can't say to somebody you have to. It is not what this country is about."

"I think at the beginning of the school year of 2022 would be a good time to remove the masks for the children," said Jeannine Cogliano of Havertown.

RELATED: Pennsylvania mask mandate must expire December 4, judge rules in latest twist

Others parents tell Action News, they want to see the masks stay on while their kids are in the classroom.

"We are not ready. Everybody should be vaccinated in my opinion, especially the children. They go back to school, they get sick, it's flu season, not a good time," said Judy Scanzano of Havertown.

A Pennsylvania judge says an order that requires masks inside K-12 schools and child care facilities must expire Dec. 4.

Governor Tom Wolf has said he would lift the mandate in January and allow districts to make their own decisions. But the new ruling could mean masks would come off in schools before then.

Districts like Philadelphia say it's a safety issue.

"We think that it is an appropriate mitigation strategy and it is one reason why we have seen less than 1% of positive cases throughout our schools," said Dr. Hite.

The Commonwealth Court sided with a legal challenge to the masking order. The judges agreed that state law does not allow the Acting Health Secretary to order a mask mandate. The Department of Health is now appealing the decision and the State Supreme Court will decide the fate of masks in schools.

"Remember, this is about a case about the secretary's ability to put an order in place, not the feasibility of masks," said Noe Ortega, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

As for now, nothing changes and students are still expected to wear masks in school. This issue will be before State Supreme Court on Dec. 8.

In Delaware, Governor John Carney says he expects to extend the mandate until February.

As for New Jersey, state leaders expect the mask mandate to expire Jan. 11.
Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.