HARRISBURG – Reps. Dave Zimmerman of Lancaster County and Russ Diamond and Frank Ryan of Lebanon County expressed concern that the legal pillars Gov. Tom Wolf and PA Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam used to institute a statewide mask mandate for schools are based on untruths. Beam cited a 1929 law, which she and Wolf say gives the Department of Health the authority to mandate masks. That law states that the Health Department has the authority to step in with mandates during a clear and present viral outbreak. The problem is no such outbreak occurred. Zimmerman was surprised when Beam cited Eastern Lancaster County and Annville-Cleona as among the four school districts with viral outbreaks that triggered DOH’s authority under the 1929 law. Zimmerman said Sec. Beam said the “lights were off and football fields were empty” last Friday because of coronavirus outbreaks in those schools, but that ELANCO has not canceled any classes or school days and its football team played a game against Twin Valley last Friday night. Reps. Ryan and Diamond say they checked with Annville Cleona school officials and they confirmed that while they did cancel a game, they did not have a COVID-19 outbreak. They had one confirmed case of COVID-19 that did not originate at the school. School officials took decisive action to quarantine the football team and cancel last Friday’s game to prevent further spread. The lawmakers say the district exercised prudence and good judgment and demonstrated the effectiveness of local control. The lawmakers said they know that claims of actual school viral outbreaks cited by Sec. Beam are false and question whether masking has been as effective as the administration claims.

REP. FRANK RYAN

REP. RUSS DIAMOND

REP. DAVE ZIMMERMAN