CLEARFIELD – Face masks must still be worn inside the Clearfield Area Junior-Senior High and Elementary school buildings.
The district’s administration and school board started the new school year off Aug. 25 with face masks as optional but encouraged.
It soon reversed course with Gov. Tom Wolf and the Department of Health, which on Aug. 31, mandated all students, staff and visitors wear masks in school buildings, beginning Sept. 7.
The state mandate requires all staff, students and visitors to mask up to enter schools – both public and private – as well as childcare and early-learning centers.
On Nov. 10, the Commonwealth Court struck down the mask order in a 4-1 decision, stating the acting health secretary didn’t have the authority to issue it outside of the regulatory process.
Health department officials immediately directed counsel to file an appeal, which immediately put a stay on the Commonwealth Court’s decision.
“We know the Commonwealth Court ruled that the order didn’t meet legal muster,” stated Superintendent Terry Struble at Monday night’s school board meeting.
“But that was immediately appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and when it agreed to place it on the docket, that put an immediate stay on the order.”
Struble said the district will remain compliant until the Pennsylvania Supreme Court makes its ruling. Arguments have been scheduled for Nov. 30.
“It usually takes three to four weeks to get a decision,” he said, and with the holidays, there probably won’t be a decision until the start of the new year, unless the process is expediated.
That in mind, Struble said, Wolf previously announced face mask decisions would be made by local school boards, beginning Jan. 17, 2022. “Be patient with us as we follow what advice we’re provided.”