Gov. Tom Wolf will announce a statewide mask mandate for K-12 schools this afternoon, according to the Associated Press.
The order will take effect Tuesday, Sept. 7, and will require all students and staff to be masked, quoting two anonymous sources reportedly briefed on the plan.
The order comes after Republican legislative leaders rejected Wolf's request to reconvene and pass a law mandating masks in schools. In his request, Wolf said his office has been contacted by numerous parents frustrated by districts' refusal to take action. Teachers unions have said they favor a statewide mandate.
Children under 12 are not yet eligible for vaccination against Covid-19.
Republicans have said Covid-19 mitigation decisions should be left to local authorities. In Lancaster County, three school districts out of 16 have mask mandates: Columbia, Manheim Township and the School District of Lancaster.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommend universal masking in schools.