Local school district ordered by judge to continue their mask mandate

local politics, Politics, state politics

Jada Urbaez, Staff

Since school districts have reopened, many parents and students have demonstrated and spoken out because they believe masks should not be worn in schools. More recently, COVID-19 cases have declined locally, and some people are becoming tired of taking precautions. Hence why Perkiomen Valley School District, located in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, wanted to halt the mask mandate for their district. 

The school board voted at the beginning of 2022 to no longer require students to wear face coverings. Parents took this decision to court, arguing stopping the mandate would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. Instated in 1990, this Act prohibits discrimination of the disabled and provides equal opportunity in public settings. Fighting to continue Perkiomen Valley’s mask mandate would ensure the disabled would be able to safely attend classes without complications or life-threatening risks. The plaintiffs, who were represented by Attorney Carmen De Gisi, claimed not wearing masks would put students who are immunocompromised or disabled at an unnecessary risk, which ultimately defies the 1990 Act. 

The opposing side argued that masks cause discomfort and difficulty for the children to learn the material taught in school. In addition, parents argue that some students have anxiety, and wearing masks exacerbates their anxious feelings. All in all, the parents who wish to cease the mask mandate argue they make students uncomfortable, cause an inconvenience and do more harm than good. The federal judge disagreed and ruled that the Perkiomen Valley School District must continue the mask mandate for students, faculty, and staff until further notice.

COVID-19 cases reached their all-time peak in Pennsylvania just a month ago, but have decreased expeditiously since then. On Jan. 8, 2022, Pennsylvania reported 33,650 new cases, which bumped the state’s seven-day average to 25,848. However, just about a month later, 2,794 new cases were reported on Feb. 6, which brought the weekly average to 6,207. This decrease in positive cases may cause other school boards to do what Perkiomen Valley did, but they also may get declined by a judge for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.Editor’s Note: Help stop the spread of COVID-19 by getting vaccinated, boosted, and tested.

Dr. Oz — the Politician?

local politics, Politics

Jada Urbaez, Staff

When someone mentions Dr. Oz, does the Pennsylvania Senate come to mind? Probably not, since Dr. Oz is popularly known for his 13-season health show that began in 2009. 

The Dr. Oz Show was a daytime television talk show first aired in 2009 and the last episode was just under two weeks ago, Jan. 14, 2022. The show discussed health issues and the Dr. Oz gave explanations and sometimes advice. The sudden shift to politics may raise eyebrows due to his popular background of medicine. 

Dr. Mehmet Oz announced in Nov. 2021 that he plans on running for the open Republican seat for the PA Senate. Until recently, Dr. Oz’s political views were mostly unknown since the TV personality did not profess his opinions publicly. However, FOX News has recently hosted Dr. Oz on their show numerous times, including once where the physician shared his opinion on COVID-19 closings and precautions. 

As many schools have switched to online instruction, there is a divide within communities on whether it would be best to keep the schools closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, or to reopen them. Some may argue it is safe, effective and ideal to have students attend school virtually to prevent infection and possibly death. Others think attending school in person has many benefits that outweigh the risks of spreading the coronavirus disease. 

Restaurants, arenas, stores, and malls were also closed due to the health crisis and caused distress to the public. Similar to the closing of schools, people had opposing and passionate opinions about when and how to resume everyday activities. In 2020, Dr. Oz expressed on FOX News that he thinks some facilities should reopen and can be done without “getting into a lot of trouble.” At the time of this interview, schools around the United States had been recently closed for about three weeks. Dr. Oz continued by saying that opening schools would likely result in a 2-3 percent mortality rate, which “might be a trade-off some folks would consider.” 

After his FOX interview, many people criticized Dr. Oz for his comments, some taking offense and strongly disagreeing. Due to his comments causing controversy, Dr. Oz published an apology video to Twitter, admitting his choice of words may have “upset people” and he had “misspoke”. The general election takes place on Nov. 8, 2022 while the primary election falls on May 8, 2022. Registered voters in Pennsylvania will elect a member of the United States Senate, and every vote counts. Make sure to register to vote, as PA does not engage in automatic voter registration.