School mask order to remain in place through Nov. 12, Zoom class option returns

Scranton. A federal judge has ordered that all people inside Delaware Valley school buildings continue to wear masks. DV has also offered the option of remote learning for students under quarantine.

| 03 Nov 2021 | 02:33

Scranton. A federal judge has ordered that all people inside Delaware Valley school buildings continue to wear face masks, in accordance with the state health department’s mandate from September.

The order, dated Oct. 29, extends through Friday, Nov. 12. A medical doctor’s note must accompany any exemption to the order.

On Oct. 28, parents, board members, and their legal counsel on both sides of the debate spoke before Judge Robert D. Mariani, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, in his Scranton courtroom.

Five parents sued to have the court enforce the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s mask mandate at DV after the school board decided to let students attend class maskless, as long as their parents signed a form saying it would harm their children’s health, but without the medical documentation required by the mandate. Among those defending the school board was Dawn Bukaj.

School board member Brian Carso, who supports the mandate, also spoke.

On Oct. 20, Mariani responded to a lawsuit brought by five DV parents by instituting a temporary restraining order until the hearing and court decision to come out of it.

The school at that point began its compliance with the state mandate.

Zoom option returns

DV is now offering students the option of remote learning as Covid infections, and the quarantines that go with them, continue to circulate through the district. This temporary Zoom option is only for quarantined students, whether they have newly tested positive or have been in close contact with someone who has.

The district started the year with all students attending a full schedule on campus.

There were 88 positive cases in September and 100 in October, according to the school’s tally The risk level for Covid remains very high in Pike County, with new cases trending sharply upward since late August.

“While this modified Zoom option won’t be as interactive as being in the classroom, it will provide virtual access to live instruction,” says the school.