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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: July 10, 2020 10:49 AM
From: Representative Jerry Knowles
To: All House members
Subject: Masks for Young School Students
Parents, superintendents, principals, and teachers have all expressed serious concerns about the new order requiring all school children to wear masks in school unless they can remain six feet apart. Parents and educators alike know that it is impractical, if not impossible, to have young children wear a mask all day.  Even the Pennsylvania Department of Education, when it released its Preliminary Guidance for Phased Reopening of Pre-K to 12 Schools, did not mandate masks and even acknowledged that “face coverings may be challenging for students (especially younger students or students with special needs) to wear in all-day settings such as school.”
Based on numerous conversations with constituents, and people around the Commonwealth, I believe that there is widespread consensus that mandating young children in schools to wear masks is unwise public policy that goes too far and invites widespread non-compliance.  I would rather give those in charge of schools the ability to decide what is best for their young students.
My legislation is quite simple.  It is similar to PDE’s original guidance, which left it up to the individual school entities, including preschools, to decide whether children must wear masks and the conditions upon which they must wear them. However, this legislation, unlike the original guidance, is limited to Pre-K thru 5.  Secondary school students will still be subject to the current order.
I hope you will support this common-sense legislation.


Introduced as HB2814