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Spring Cove keeps mask requirement

Despite the calls of some parents and staff, masks will be required in Spring Cove School District facilities, the superintendent announced Monday.

More than 20 people, including parents and district employees, addressed the Spring Cove School Board about mandatory masking at its meeting Monday evening.

The mask mandate handed down by the Wolf administration went into effect on Sept. 7 and requires that masks be worn inside all K-12 school buildings, early learning programs and child care providers.

The majority of those in attendance at Monday evening’s meeting were opposed to the mandate and urged the board to take action against it.

But after public comments concluded, Superintendent Betsy Baker addressed the crowd.

“From the perspective of an educator, masking at this time, keeps our students in school and thus is the best option educationally,” Baker said. “Our schools are entangled in the middle of a battle that is not our fight.”

She went on to say that there was nothing for the board to vote on or decide because the mask order was issued by the acting secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

“It is our obligation to follow and enforce that order as directed,” Baker said.

During public comments before Baker’s statement, Caleb Moses, a Martinsburg resident with two children in the district, called the mandate “unhealthy, unconstitutional and borderline child abuse.”

“The mask mandate will soon be replaced with the vaccine mandate for our children,” Moses said. “And liberty will soon be replaced with tyranny.”

Roaring Spring resident Mark Lingenfelter, who has three children in the district, urged board members to consider the bigger picture regarding the mandate.

“I’m not suggesting that there are easy answers, but I think we need to ask ourselves what our conviction will be that will cause us to do hard things and accept the consequences of saying no,” Lingenfelter said.

However, there were a few speakers that supported the mandate, albeit reluctantly.

“First, this can’t be a political issue for our school,” AJ Hoenstine, Spring Cove teacher and Martinsburg resident, said. “It can’t be.”

“In-person learning, we have seen that students do better in person,” Lynette Guyer, a certified school nurse at Central High School, said. “They want to be with their peers. … It’s not all about individual freedoms. It’s what is best for the community. Do we always work as one person or do we work as a family? Do we work as one person or do we work as a community?”

Mirror Staff Writer Rachel Foor is at 814-946-7458.

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