SPRINGFIELD, Pa. (CBS) — It’s back to school time, and more students across the region returned to the classroom. Effective Tuesday, students in Pennsylvania must wear masks.
For months, local school boards were stuck in the middle of the debate over masking in schools. The public meetings ran on for hours in some districts, where video showed packed auditoriums with lengthy lists of public speakers and some people angry.READ MORE: FDA Authorizes Pfizer's COVID-19 Booster Shot For Americans Over 65, Those At High-Risk
“This is a declaration and a notice that many families will be sending our children to in-person school free of facial coverings, shields and masks in perpetuity,” one woman said.
“I am asking tonight that you consider instituting a mask mandate,” another woman said.
“It is not violating your first amendment right to ask you to protect others,” a student said.
Gov. Tom Wolf’s mask order follows that of Delaware and New Jersey, and since, there have been threats of lawsuits, as well as assertions by health experts the governor is within his authority to mandate facial coverings for those in grades K to 12.
William Penn students return to class on Wednesday.READ MORE: More Than 100 Penn State Students Temporarily Suspended After Missing Weeks Of COVID Tests
Superintendent Dr. Eric Beacoats explained his expectation.
“You will show up at the doorstep of our school buildings with your mask on, and if you don’t have one? Guess what, we will have one for you,” Beacoats said.
Unlike other districts that have seen arguments, jeering and booing, Beacoats says his recommendation to have everyone mask up inside schools came before the governor’s mandate and says it was well-received and without controversy.
“This is our reality that we’re living in right now and with students who are not being able to be vaccinated who are 12 and under, we have to make sure that we’re providing a safe and healthy environment to them to the best of our ability,” Beacoats said.
There have been protests and petitions trying to overturn the governor’s mask mandate.MORE NEWS: 3 Men Injured In Wynnefield Shooting, Police Say
Legal experts say Wolf is well within his authority to enforce this.