As of Tuesday, several schools in the region will be rejecting students who are not wearing masks.
The Ministry of Health’s order to require masks for students has caused a stir among parents and members of the community as threats of non-compliance circulate on social media.
Some parents have stated they will not bring their child to school with a mask on if the mandate goes into effect on Tuesday, putting students at the forefront of the battle between parents and school districts responsible for compliance with the order .
Districts must follow the order prescribed by the Disease Prevention and Control Act 1955.
According to the state school ministry: “School officials who fail to comply with the order could lose protection of sovereign immunity and may face personal lawsuits from those who might be affected by an official’s attempt to ignore the order. If the control measures are not implemented or followed, individuals may be exposed to personal liability under 42 Pa.CS 8550 (relating to willful misconduct) and other legal remedies provided by law. If the control measures under the ordinance are not implemented and followed, a person will also be subject to the penal provisions of the Disease Prevention and Control Act 1955. “
To address this directly, several districts have informed parents that the school will provide one for them if a child comes to school without a mask.
“If the student refuses to accept or wear the mask, their parents will be called and asked to bring their child home.” A letter from the East Lycoming School District Superintendent Michael Pawlik states that this extends to school transportation as well.
A letter from District Superintendent Dr. Brian Ulmer at the Jersey Shore Ward urges everyone to remember that the masking policy was not from the county.
“On Tuesday, our teachers want to do what they do best – raise your children. Regardless of your feelings, please respect our employees because this is not their fault. “ said Ulmer.
He posted a link on the Department of Education website for FAQs about masking and other measures to contain COVID-19.
Parents of the Montoursville School District have been informed that the district will follow the same rules from last school year when dealing with students who refuse to wear masks.
“Students who refuse to wear face covering are not allowed on the school transport. Last year, when a student in the buildings refused to wear face covering, he was redirected by a teacher. If they did not comply, they were sent to the office and processed by the administration. If the student had the opportunity to do so and did not do so, he was sent home. “ announced the district on its website.
South Williamsport Area School District Superintendent Mark Stamm posted details of the mandate to parents through the district website. The district administration has confirmed this “We fully expected this to likely happen and have been preparing for it all summer.”
The ordinance of the health department provides for exceptions to masking, in particular if students eat while eating and drinking or work alone in a separate area. There is no mask requirement outdoors.
Requests for information about receiving an exemption to prevent their child from having to wear a mask during school hours have filled the social media pages of local grassroots groups since the order was issued last week, prompting the districts to indicate who is eligible for an exception and who can demonstrate the need for an exception.
“Medical necessity is determined when wearing a face covering would either cause or worsen a medical condition, including respiratory disease that impairs breathing, a medical condition or disability.” Read Stamm’s letter.
Parents must provide evidence of medical necessity from a licensed health care provider and should state the underlying medical condition, according to Stamm and other superintendents in the area.
The masking order announced early last week applies to all K-12 students and employees, regardless of vaccination status, including those in stationary and cyber charter schools, private and parish schools, vocational and technical centers, as well as intermediate units such as day care.
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