Pennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down K-12 mask mandate

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down a statewide mask mandate for Pennsylvania schoolchildren on Friday, in a defeat for Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration.

The justices announced their decision to uphold a lower court order vacating the mandate, but have not yet issued a written opinion explaining the reasoning of the court.

The Commonwealth Court previously ruled that Wolf’s K-12 mask order was illegitimate because it was imposed by the state’s acting health secretary without legal authorization. The court found that acting Health Secretary Alison Beam lacked the authority to require masks, did not follow statutory requirements for issuing regulations, and acted without an existing disaster emergency in place, which the governor must officially declare for an emergency order to be issued.

Specifically, the lower court found that Pennsylvania’s disease control law does not give Beam “the blanket authority to create new rules and regulations out of whole cloth, provided they are related in some way to the control of disease or can otherwise be characterized as disease control measures.”- READ MORE