The latest Republican-led bid to end mandatory masking of Pennsylvania school children failed Thursday in Harrisburg in a 4–7 vote by the little-known Joint Committee on Documents. In August, Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, asked the General Assembly to approve a mandate requiring all schools and childcare centers to make children wear masks to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. The Republican-led General Assembly leadership refused. Within days, acting Health Secretary Alison Beam issued an order requiring masks to be worn inside K-12 school buildings, early learning programs, and at childcare centers. During a Sept. 14 House Health Committee meeting, Republican Majority Chair Kathy Rapp said it was as if Beam made her own law, and that Beam did not have the authority to impose a masking order outside an emergency declaration. And if the mask mandate is considered a regulation, it had not yet gone through the regulation approval process. …


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