Federal judge: Montoursville will keep the masks at school | News, Sports, Jobs


Claiming that a mask does not present a potential danger to others, United States Intermediate District Court Judge Matthew W. Brann on Thursday rejected an injunction regarding a requirement in the Montoursville-area school district according to which students must wear masks.

In Brann’s opinion, “No one, except maybe a bank robber, likes to wear a mask – and even then reluctantly, but as a concession to professional attire. But the Constitution doesn’t protect us from everything we don’t like. Here, parents of schoolchildren in Montoursville.

“The Constitution does not guarantee students the right to go to school without wearing a mask and being required to do so, does not inflict irreparable harm or in any way violate the right of students to ‘associate and unite freely with others,’ he added. Brann said.

Mark and Brenda Oberheim, the children’s parents and other parents applied for the injunction after Montoursville Schools Superintendent Christina Bason implemented an order from Alison Beam, the ministry’s acting secretary of state Health, requiring students to mask themselves.

The council previously adopted a health and safety plan for the district which had a policy of optional masks.

Board chairman David Shimmel also signed a document in June outlining how the district would be flexible based on what was ordered by the state’s health department.

By the end of the following month, the public health landscape regarding COVID-19 had dramatically changed, according to Brann.

Between July and August 2021, the number of COVID-19 cases in the state increased “From less than 300 cases per day to over 3,000 cases per day. “

In total, “There have been 1,300,368 cases and 28,235 deaths across the state caused by COVID-19. “

The number of COVID-19 cases is particularly troubling for public schools “In school-aged children. . . increased by 11,000 in one month and more than 79,000 since the start of the year ”, in Brann’s opinion.

The increase in the number of new cases was attributable, at least in part, to a highly communicable disease, “more contagious” strand of the virus: the delta variant.

In response to these developments, on August 31, Beam gave the following mandate to school entities, including K-12 public schools: every teacher, child / student, staff or visitor working, attending or visiting an entity school must wear a face cover indoors, regardless of immunization status, except under certain circumstances.

The parents “asked the court to take the extraordinary step of suspending the mask mandate of schools in the Montoursville area, thus allowing students to attend school without a mask in direct violation of the masking order of the Department of Health of the State “, Brann said. “But to receive such a drastic remedy, plaintiffs must overcome several significant legal hurdles. They failed to do it. “

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