Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court on Friday threw out a state mask mandate for schools and childcare centers, upholding a lower court decision that the directive was imposed by Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s acting health secretary without legal authorization.
The justices announced the decision but have not yet issued a written opinion that explains their reasoning.
The practical impact of the decision will depend on which schools and school districts impose their own mask requirements.
Wolf’s press secretary, Beth Rementer, said the decision was ”extremely disappointing.”
”The administration recognizes that many school districts want to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment for students and staff, and we are hopeful they will make appropriate mitigation decisions moving forward,” she said, according to NBC Philadelphia.
She also urged districts to prioritize health and safety, calling masks ”a proven and simple way to keep kids in school without interruption and participate in sports and other extracurricular activities.”
School boards will have to decide what, if any, policy to adopt on masks.
Thomas W. King III, a lawyer for the Republican lawmakers, school districts, schools and parents who sued to challenge the mandate, said it was a ”great day in Pennsylvania for the rule of law.”
”The Supreme Court has proved that no one is above the law, and that includes the secretary of health or the governor.”
Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre, state Rep. Jesse Topper, R-Bedford, two religious schools, three public school districts and several parents of schoolchildren filed the lawsuit.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.