HARRISBURG –Senator Pat Stefano (R-32) issued the following statement in response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s statewide mandatory masking policy for students and staff in all K-12 schools and childcare providers:
“Unfortunately, today’s masking announcement is yet another example of the governor making decisions on his own that impact the entire Commonwealth. And this time, he even thumbed his nose at his own opinion. Just a short time ago, he made it publicly known that he would not impose any additional statewide mandates, but instead allow mitigation decisions to be made at the local level.
“And yet, his mandatory masking policy for students, teachers and staff, is the complete opposite. How are we expected to trust an elected official who so quickly betrays his own word?
“As my colleagues and I communicated to the governor, we feel the most effective way to preserve public health is to encourage decisions to be made locally. Our communities are not facing the same COVID-19 challenges, and to act as if they are does everyone a disservice. We must be calculated and thoughtful instead of making wide-sweeping decisions.
“That’s why I co-sponsored Senate Bill 846, which would allow parents and legal guardians to “opt out” of their children having to comply with a school’s mask mandate. Barring sad and unusual circumstances, I can’t think of anyone who is more qualified than the parent to decide how to best care for a child.
“In May, voters sent Gov. Wolf a clear message when they voted to clarify that the Legislature has the ability to end or extend emergency declarations. In no uncertain terms, they communicated their opinion that one person should not make unilateral decisions that affect 13 million Pennsylvanians. This was only necessary because he acted out of bounds of his position for more than a year, and it seems he is already muting the voice of the people.
“I am disturbed by the governor’s blatant refusal to listen to others who are better equipped to make health-related decisions. Why does he think he can better protect a child than his or her parents? The concept is deeply offensive, and I am disgusted by his latest edict.”
Contact: Mark Fetzko, 717-787-7175