Skip to comments.Should parents decide if kids wear masks at school in Pa.? That’s what some lawmakers are seeking.
Posted on 09/28/2021 3:50:55 PM PDT by lightman
Parents would be empowered to decide whether their child wears a face covering in school under legislation that moved out of the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday.
The bill, sponsored by Republican Sens. Doug Mastriano of Franklin County and Judy Ward of Blair County, would allow for parents to opt their children out of a COVID-19-related public or private school mask order imposed by the state Secretary of Health or the local school board. Republican lawmakers have pushed the bill after Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration issued a mask order for schools which took effect earlier this month.
The measure would prohibit any harassment or discrimination or specialized treatment such as being isolated in a location away from school activities or excluded from school-sponsored events, which has been a way some districts have handled the situation when students refuse to wear masks.
The bill, which passed the committee by a 7-4 party-line vote, now moves forward to the full Senate.
However, a spokeswoman for Wolf made it clear the bill stands no chance of winning the governor’s signature.
“The bill supporters’ efforts would better serve their constituents and the commonwealth as a whole by focusing on increasing the vaccination rates within their legislative districts instead of working on this unnecessary legislation. We need Republicans to stop spending their time undermining public health and instead encourage people to get vaccinated,” said Wolf spokeswoman Lyndsay Kensinger.
Mastriano said 90% of school districts rejected mask mandates when putting together their health and safety plans over the summer. At the governor’s behest, Pennsylvania Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam issued an order requiring children and staff to wear masks in schools and child care centers.
The health secretary’s mask order has proven to be a divisive issue in school districts across the state and the subject of several lawsuits. Mastriano called it a government overreach.
“Parents of school-age children, of course, do their utmost to make informed decisions that are in the best interest of their child,” Mastriano said. “They know their children’s strengths and weaknesses, where they’re vulnerable and whether they need a mask or not, and what’s in their best interest more than any bureaucrat or elected official.”
Federal health officials and numerous studies have repeatedly said masks help limit the spread of COVID-19.
Sen. Lindsey Williams, D-Allegheny County, said she heard from a lot of parents as well as medical professionals who support the mask mandate as a way to limit transmission and keep children in school.
“We have 20,000 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in children from 5 to 18 between September 2 and September 21 and so that is a lot of kids who are suffering,” Williams said. “That is a lot of kids who are suffering. That is a lot who are getting sick. And there is a lot of risk that I’m not willing to take with our kids.”
Mastriano said the health secretary in August said at a Senate hearing, 14 children died from COVID-19. He said that’s 14 out of 1.7 million school-age kids, or .0008%. While saying no child death should be belittled, he added, “it looks like the school-aged kids are in good hands,” Mastriano said. ”The school-age kids thankfully are pretty resilient here.”
Williams called the 14 deaths tragic. “How many does it take to change your mind regarding mask mandates?” she said.
Mastriano responded, “Of a statistic that is .0008, we’re going to have a heavy-handed draconian edict controlling the lives of kids across the state, where do you stop? Where is it quantifiably necessary to make such a decision and to implement such rules or laws.”
In a later statement, Williams accused Senate Republicans of being more concerned about scoring political points than keeping children healthy.
Wolf has argued the mask order is needed because the Wolf administration wants to keep kids in classrooms and avoid remote learning, which many schools had to utilize last year.
Health officials and doctors said it’s rare for children to get seriously ill from COVID-19, but they have been troubled by the uptick in cases among kids in recent weeks. While most patients in hospitals are adults, Penn State Health’s COVID-19 dashboard indicates 10 pediatric patients are hospitalized due to COVID-19.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health reported 27,782 children between the ages of 5-18 have tested positive for COVID-19 since Aug. 16. Several central Pennsylvania schools have temporarily shifted to remote instruction and some high school sports events have had to be postponed or canceled due to COVID-19 cases and exposures.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics have recommended children wear masks in school, regardless of their vaccination status. Health care officials have also called for masks to help protect kids under the age of 12, since they are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccines.
So Wolf howled and the kiddies masked up.
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Covid is nowhere near bad enough to justify the lockdowns and mandates.
The people making these bizarre decisions need to be removed from their positions and re-assigned to jobs where they have no power.
I’d like to see them avoid the mom-group clicks who will
find it impossible to take a pass on ramming through their
own agenda concerning schools.
We know what the actives Leftist moms will be driving for,
Joseph Stolen’s demands.
Them and their clickish kids could make it almost insufferable
to attend these schools.
As a Pa parent of a school aged kid—YES!!!!!
I am sorry to remind them that in a number of school districts they declared the parents have no role in the school time supervision of their children-—the teacher and school system have that role.
This was included in rulings about school employees giving hormone injections to elementary school children after the teacher and principal decided the child had better gender identification as another gender. Parents were not consulted and then were told they had no say in a school matter.
Minnesota Mom Sues Her Trans Child Over Gender //
Nov 17, 2016 — “I was not consulted or informed about this in any way.”
Overcoming the Parental Veto: How Transgender Adolescents....
Mar 2, 2016 — as well as testosterone hormone therapy. In contrast ... parent supports treatment for the gender non-conforming child.
Mother blocking trans teen’s surgery fuels....
Nov 14, 2020 — The teenager began hormone therapy in July and was due to undergo gender surgery that has raised questions about parental rights, child ....
Search, please parents not consulted gender hormone.
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