HARRISBURG (AP) – Thousands of students are requesting to go mask-free in PA schools, claiming a medical exemption amid fierce local opposition to the state’s new face-covering mandate. The order went into effect Sept. 7 and requires students, staff, and visitors to wear masks inside school buildings, regardless of vaccination status. But an apparent loophole has made it easier for parents in some districts to request medical exemptions for their children. Those districts are using exemption forms that require nothing more than a parent’s signature. In one district, 30% of the students have requested an exemption.