Latest Rulings Cause Area School Districts to Flip-Flop on Mask Policies
Many questions have been raised and a lot of confusion has been created since the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that a 1945 law was unconstitutional, thereby invalidating many of the executive orders issued by Governor Gretchen Whitmer since April.
However, on Monday (10/5), the Director of the MIchigan Department of Health and Human Services, Director Robert Gordon, released a policy from his office regarding the wearing of face coverings in Michigan and limitations of indoor and outdoor gatherings. The full details of that policy can be read here.
Many area school districts have quickly changed course, and have had to clarify their policies on masks, in some cases more than once.
From Davison Schools:
We are very sorry to inform you that, once again, we will need to change direction regarding our current practice of not requiring students in grades K-4 to wear masks while in the classroom … We just learned this evening that Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon has issued an Emergency Order under MCL 333.2253 restricting gathering sizes, requiring face coverings in public spaces, and places limitations on bars and other venues. This order requires the wearing of masks at schools for all grades, except for in Michigan Economic Recovery Council Region 6.
Fenton Community Schools' policy remains unchanged:
I wanted to make sure to communicate with you that the recent decision by the Michigan Supreme Court regarding the Executive Orders made by Governor Whitmer, and the authority she has to declare a state of emergency, does not change the board approved Return to School Plan. One of our protocols for face to face learning is that all learners, Young 5’s -12th grade, wear facial coverings in common areas, while using transportation and within the classrooms.
The same goes for Clio Schools:
The Clio Area Schools Board of Education, on August 10, 2020, approved the COVID-19 Response and Preparedness Plan and on September 24, 2020, the Extended Learning Plan for our district. Both of these plans include the wearing of facial coverings for all staff and students at all times, including on buses, in hallways, and in the classroom.
Goodrich Schools' policy has not changed:
The Goodrich Board of Education, on August 3, 2020, approved the COVID-19 Response and Preparedness Plan and on September 21, 2020, the Extended Learning Plan for our district. Both of these plans include the wearing of facial coverings for all staff and students at all times, including on buses, in hallways, and in the classroom. These plans are still in place and we will continue to follow them for the safety of our students and staff.
Swartz Creek Schools, however, have not required masks for K-5 students:
One point of clarification is that our ECOL Plan DOES NOT include the requirement that K-5 children wear masks, and they will not be required moving forward. While it is encouraged and recommended, it was not a requirement in our plan for a variety of reasons based on research on young learners.