Erie County Executive-Elect weighs in on mask mandate in schools

Local News

Erie is the only county in the commonwealth with a mask mandate in schools. However, the incoming County Executive says he has different plans for COVID-19 guidelines.

The current Erie County school mask mandate will continue until the end of County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper’s term. Dahlkemper says the mask mandate is in place based on recommendations from the Erie County Department of Health. She says she is concerned about Erie County students returning to school after the holidays in 2022.

“The next County Executive has indicated he will pull that and let schools make their own choice, which is fine, schools can be autonomous in that way. Having talked with superintendents, I know they appreciated the support from county government and the health department.” said Kathy Dahlkemper, Erie County Executive.

Brenton Davis, the incoming County Executive, says he has a different approach when it comes to mandates in Erie County schools.

“It’s about reinventing the culture and the relationship that the Erie County Health Department has with the school districts and the communities. We don’t need to be a regulating body, we need to be an educating body. We need to assist these school districts in making the appropriate decisions.” said Brenton Davis, Erie County Executive-Elect.

Davis says he is working with superintends from several school districts to come up with a plan without enforcing a county-wide mask mandate.

“They all have varying opinions about what works in their schools and what doesn’t. I think the rightful place for this decision is local control in the school districts. What works in North East might not work in Albion or in the City of Erie. We can’t have the same set of rules that’s going to confine everyone.”

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Davis said he will meet with representatives from Intermediate Unit 5 on December 20th to discuss guidelines for schools.

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