In separate rulings, courts have overturned opposite state mandates regarding masks in public schools.
The masking of children in US schools as a safety measure against Covid-19 has been a highly controversial, vigorously-debated issue since the beginning of the pandemic, sparking much political division.
For the most part, individual school systems or districts have made mask policies with input and guidance from their local school boards, health officials, and parent input.
However, in Pennsylvania and Texas, governors have imposed enforced state-wide mask mandate policies on all schools.
In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott had imposed, by executive order, a ban on mask mandates in schools. On November 10, US District Judge Lee Yeakel overturned the governor's ban, ruling that it prevented "disabled students' access to public education," and saying it violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Yeakel's decision also prohibits Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton from suing school districts that enforce mask mandates. Paxton immediately took to Twitter after the ruling and stated, "My agency is considering all legal avenues to challenge this decision."
Meanwhile in Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf's mandatory mask mandate was struck down by Pennsylvania's Commonwealth Court.
In a 4-1 decision, the court stated that Health Secretary Alison Bean did not have the authority to issue a statewide mandate for schools.
Pennsylvania Department of Health does not have carte blanche authority to impose whatever disease control measures the Department of Health sees fit to implement without regard for the procedures for promulgating rules and regulations, expedited or otherwise. In the absence of a declared emergency, the Governor and the executive agencies of the Commonwealth must follow the prescribed procedures for rulemaking.
Judge Christie Cannon wrote for the majority stating
Governor Tom Wolfe immediately appealed the court decision, which blocks it for now and keeps the school mask mandate in place.
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