Wolf asks GOP leaders to return to Harrisburg and pass school mask mandate

Angela Couloumbis of Spotlight PA

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HARRISBURG — Gov. Tom Wolf is calling on the Republican-led legislature to return to the Capitol immediately to pass legislation mandating the use of masks in K-12 classrooms and child-care centers throughout Pennsylvania.

In a letter to legislative leaders in both chambers, the Democratic governor struck a note of urgency, noting that many public schools have already returned to the classroom — many without mask requirements — and that parents overwhelmingly support a statewide mask mandate in classrooms.

READ MORE: Two new COVID-19 deaths reported in York County amid latest surge

Just 59 school districts out of the 474 that submitted health and safety plans to the Department of Education had implemented mandatory masking policies as of the end of July, Wolf said in a letter sent Wednesday to Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R., Centre) and House Speaker Bryan Cutler (R., Lancaster).

“For most of the past 18 months, the legislature has asked for my administration to defer to local governments and local organizations when making mitigation decisions,” Wolf wrote. “It is clear that action is needed to ensure children are safe as they return to the classroom.”

Neither Wolf nor legislative leaders could be immediately reached for comment.

But the GOP-controlled legislature has for months been critical of state mandates relating to the pandemic.

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