Good afternoon, Cornwall-Lebanon families,
My message prior to Thanksgiving indicated that our District soon would return to the optional wearing of face coverings indoors. This was based on the November 16, 2021, Commonwealth Court decision that stated the mask Order would end on December 4, 2021.
Yesterday, November 30, 2021, the PA Supreme Court overruled the Commonwealth Court decision and the mask Order will not be lifted on December 4. The Order has been reinstated. This court decision will keep the mask Order in place inside all school entities. Based on this recent court decision, students and staff should continue following the face covering protocols next week, as we have been doing, unless they have an approved exemption.
The PA Supreme Court did not decide on the validity of the mask Order, they simply stated that the Order should remain in place until they render a decision. The PA Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on Wednesday, December 8, 2021. Sometime after that time, the PA Supreme Court is expected to make a final decision on the validity of the mask Order.
As was reported in the media, Governor Wolf also has indicated that he plans to end the mask Order on January 17, 2022. A timeline of the mask Order actions and related events appears below by signature.
The Cornwall-Lebanon District Health and Safety Plan states that we will follow all legal, valid, and binding Orders. While we realize there are strong opinions on both sides of the face covering Order issue, the one common goal all parents share is having quality educational opportunities for their children. CLSD will continue to offer as many of these opportunities as possible and keep students in school.
We continue to ask for everyone’s cooperation as we follow the Order, continue wearing masks/face coverings, and not allow this to become a divisive issue in our school community.
We have had a very successful school year thanks to the support, civility, and respect within the CLSD community.
With everyone’s continued cooperation, we will continue to do so.
Timeline of Mask Order and Related Events:
August 16, 2021
CLSD Board of School Directors approves the District Health and Safety Plan that allows for the optional wearing of face coverings indoors.
August 30, 2021
CLSD schools open with the optional wearing of face coverings indoors.*
August 31, 2021
PA Acting Secretary of Health Beam signs an Order requiring face coverings to be worn indoors in all school entities, effective September 7, 2021.
November, 10, 2021
Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court finds the mask Order issued by Acting Secretary Beam to be invalid;
The Wolf administration and the Acting Secretary of Health immediately appeal this decision to the PA Supreme Court. This creates an automatic stay of the masking Order.
November 11, 2021
A request is filed with the Commonwealth Court to lift the automatic stay imposed by the appeal.
November 16, 2021
The Commonwealth Court lifts the automatic stay and issues a decision that the mask Order will end on December 4, 2021.
November 30, 2021
The PA Supreme Court overturns the Commonwealth Court decision of November 16, 2021, until arguments can be held December 8, 2021, to decide on the validity of the original mask Order.
*NOTE: The January 21, 2021, federal Order from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to wear face coverings on transportation remains in effect and is separate from the indoor mask mandate issued by the Acting Pennsylvania Secretary of Health.