|For Immediate Release
August 31, 2021
Kirstin Snow firstname.lastname@example.org, 215-510-9336
Statement on Governor Wolf’s Imposed Mask Mandate
HARRISBURG, PA — The following statement was released by Marc Stier, Director, PA Budget and Policy Center:
The PA Budget and Policy Center supports Governor Wolf’s decision to require teachers, staff, and students to wear masks in all K-12 schools and in child care centers for four reasons.
First, this is a measure that is necessary to protect the school children and entire communities in Pennsylvania from the threat of the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19. Taking this step will also help keep schools open, which is important to both families and the education of our children. It will also limit disruption for working families, school communities, and local businesses.
Second, the governor’s decision vindicates the basic principle that public health measures should be decided on the basis of the best science available to us. The scientific consensus tells us that masks help reduce the spread of the virus and protect all of us, especially children who cannot yet be vaccinated.
Third, the governor’s decision also vindicates the principle that we all have some responsibility to protect the whole community. There is no question that some people find masks uncomfortable and that they sometimes make communication more difficult. But when the health of the community and continuity of education is at stake, we all have an obligation to take on some additional burden in support of the common good.
Finally, the governor’s decision will resolve local disputes that are threatening to disrupt the governance of our schools. While local control of the schools is important in many cases, the scientific evidence does not change from one school district to another. And the attacks on scientific reasoning and individual responsibility to the community that we are seeing in too many school districts are not only leading to bad local decisions but also creating controversies that may make it impossible for school boards to carry out their other responsibilities. By courageously deciding to use the authority he has under existing state law, Governor Wolf not only ensures that the best science guides the decision to wear masks but relieves the pressure on local school boards.
The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center is a nonpartisan policy research project that provides independent, credible analysis on state tax, budget, and related policy matters, with attention to the impact of current or proposed policies on working families.