GOP Leadership Will Not Consider a Mask Mandate for Schools

Member Group : News Releases

Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman

Pennsylvania Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler

Media Contact:  Mike Straub


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August 26, 2021


COVID Mitigation Decisions are Best Left to Local Experts

Legislative leaders respond to Wolf letter, Legislature will not return early


HARRISBURG – Continuing their unwavering commitment to safe and productive classrooms and child care settings, the highest-ranking members of the state Legislature informed Gov. Tom Wolf of their intention to continue allowing school districts and local leaders the authority to make mitigation and safety decisions without statewide interventions. Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) and Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Centre) said through a written response that the Legislature would not be returning to session ahead of schedule to address a mask mandate request for K-12 students and child care centers.

The letter states in part, “At this late date, in many of our communities, local leaders have already made important decisions they believe are in the best interest of their residents and are prepared to adjust those decisions as challenges evolve. One of the most effective ways we can all mitigate COVID-19 is to continue to urge those who can get vaccinated to do so in the interest of their own health, and the health of their neighbors and community members.”

The letter goes on to say that the call for a mandate now comes at a time when he has asked for more thorough data about the current conditions in the Commonwealth, stating in part, “It is our understanding the overwhelming majority of the hospitalized patients in Pennsylvania are unvaccinated individuals, which according to CDC recommendations should already be wearing a mask. We once again ask for the data relating to new COVID-19 cases to be delineated according to the number of infections diagnosed in individuals who are unvaccinated as well as infections diagnosed in individuals who are vaccinated.”

The leaders thanked the governor for his willingness to work with the Legislature on statewide decisions, but made it clear mitigation efforts and policies are best determined at the local level and not by calling back the General Assembly.