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.