An en banc panel of Commonwealth Court judges heavily scrutinized claims that the acting secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health had the authority to order all schools to require the wearing of face masks.

The judges appeared skeptical of arguments from chief deputy attorney general Karen Romano that Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam acted within the scope of her position when she issued an order Aug. 31 broadly mandating that anyone inside of a school must wear a face covering in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

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