Oct. 08, 2021 / Press Release

HARRISBURG – The Lancaster GOP House Delegation, House Speaker Bryan Cutler (R-Peach Bottom) and Reps. Mindy Fee (R-Manheim), Keith J. Greiner (R-Upper Leacock), Dave Hickernell (R-West Donegal), Brett Miller (R-East Hempfield), Steve Mentzer (R-Lititz) and Dave Zimmerman (R-East Earl), are calling on the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) to cease sending letters to school children stating that they have determined the child has had a “close contact” with a person that has COVID-19 and if they do not do as the letter instructs then legal action will be taken against them.

Copies of the letters, which came in an envelope hand-addressed to the school children, addresses the children by their first name and directs them to quarantine for 14 days and not leave the quarantine area for any reason except medical care among other things. The letter backs up DOH directives by stating: “If you do not adhere to this directive, the (acting) Secretary of Health may petition a court to have you confined to an appropriate place chosen by the Department…”

“The Department of Health has not had a stellar performance during the COVID pandemic, and this is the latest in their extra-legal behavior and it may be the most egregious yet,” Zimmerman said. “They are telling children ‘we are coming to get you and take you away.’”

“Addressing an envelope by hand in such a way as to encourage a child to open it, particularly a letter that includes the possibility that a child could be removed from their parent’s home is just appalling,” Greiner said. “I think an apology to parents and students would be appropriate in this circumstance and these letters should stop right now.”

“News reports have DOH saying these letters were sent out in very limited numbers,” Hickernell said. “The Department needs to come forward immediately and tell us how many of these letters have been sent out to kids.”

“Everything that has transpired is very unfortunate,” Mentzer said. “We need to fight the pandemic, but also recognize common sense still has a place.”

Lancaster County House Republican Delegation
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Charles Lardner