HARRISBURG >> Bucks County state lawmakers are responding to an order issued on Tuesday by the Pennsylvania Department of Health mandating masking at all grade levels beginning Sept. 7. Here's what they are saying:
State Senator Steve Santarsiero
State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) issued the following statement in response to the order issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Health mandating masking in K-12 schools:
“The goal we all share is for students and faculty to have a productive and safe in-person school year. Requiring masks at this time will help achieve that goal.
“Due to increasing COVID-19 case numbers here and the highly contagious Delta variant, the CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. With no vaccines currently approved for children under 12 years of age, our students remain vulnerable to COVID-19. With a return to in-person instruction, mitigation efforts such as masking will limit the spread of COVID-19 and keep our students, teachers and support staff healthy.
“It is most prudent that we continue to use the mitigation efforts we have seen work against this virus, so that our schools can remain open, and our students and teachers can benefit from in-person learning. I applaud Governor Wolf and Secretary Beam’s action to keep students, teachers and staff in schools, and to keep Delta out.”
Bucks House Republican Caucus
The Bucks County House Republican Caucus, comprised of Reps. Frank Farry (R-Langhorne), Wendi Thomas (R-Richboro), Meghan Schroeder (R-Warminster), Todd Polinchock (R-Warrington), Shelby Labs (R-Doylestown), KC Tomlinson (R-Bensalem), and Craig Staats (R-Quakertown), issued the following statement on Gov. Wolf’s mask mandate for all Pennsylvania schools:
“For months now our local school districts, working with parents and medical authorities, crafted mitigation policies for our teachers and school children. These policies, including whether to require universal masks, were tailored for each district. These were the policies supported by the governor, who told Pennsylvanians broad, universal mitigation orders were inefficient and less effective than local decision-making.
“Disappointingly, the governor reversed himself from supporting local decision making to once again using a one-size fits-all approach.
“The coronavirus impacts Pennsylvania’s cities, towns and counties in different ways. Understanding this is the key to effectively protecting our kids, which is why local control is critical. Imposing a one-size, fits-all approach is an ineffective strategy for combating a health crisis.
“While both the science and the guidance surrounding COVID-19 continues to change rapidly, we hold to our position that those making decisions at the local level have the ability to react more quickly and effectively than their counterparts at the state level.
“The reality is local control includes school boards and local governments gathering input from health professionals, families, and educators so decisions are made that best serve the health, welfare and education of our children in each community.”
State Rep. Perry Warren
State Rep. Perry Warren, D-Bucks, issued the following statement about the action requiring masks inside Pennsylvania’s K-12 schools, early learning programs and childcare providers.
“This measure will help keep schools and daycares open, our children safely in schools and their parents at work,” Warren said. “It is consistent with CDC recommendations that indoor masking protects children, students, teachers and staff – and it provides a pathway to keep everyone safe and healthy.”
You can find the details on the state order here: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/wolf-administration-requires-masking-in-schools-early-learning-and-child-care-settings-to-keep-students-safely-in-classrooms-and-delta-variant-out/.
More information on the use of multi-layer cloth masks detailed by the CDC can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/science-briefs/masking-science-sars-cov2.html.
Studies of masking to limit transmission posted by the CDC can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/science-briefs/masking-science-sars-cov2.html#anchor_1619456988446.