Wayne County issues mask mandate for schools, daycare centers as COVID-19 risk remains high


Wayne County health officials announced a mask mandate for schools. - SHUTTERSTOCK
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  • Wayne County health officials announced a mask mandate for schools.

The Wayne County Public Health Department on Friday announced a mask mandate for schools and daycare providers.

The mandate requires students, faculty, staff, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks in schools and during school-sponsored indoor events.

Some of the county’s school districts have already issued mask mandates, including Detroit and Dearborn. School districts without mask mandates include Grosse Pointe, Van Buren, River Rouge, Livonia, Taylor, Wyandotte, Wayne-Westland, Gilbraltar, Huron, Flat Rock, and Woodhaven-Brownstown.

On Tuesday, the Oakland County Health Division issued a mask mandate. In Macomb County, masks won’t be required in schools, County Executive Mark Hackel said this week.

Other counties that have issued masks mandates for schools are Genesee, Kent, Kalamazoo, Ottawa, and Allegan.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration has encouraged school districts to require masks but stopped short of issuing a mandate.
Leading health organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control, recommend universal masking indoors as COVID-19 transmission remains a serious threat.

Nevertheless, mask mandates have prompted protests and complaints from angry parents. At a Birmingham Board of Education meeting last week, unruly anti-maskers booed and hurled insults at border members after they issued a mandate for face coverings for students and teachers. One man even flashed a Nazi salute and chanted “Heil Hitler.”

In a statement, Governor Gretchen Whitmer applauded the county for the decision.

"As of today, 179 districts totaling over 53% of Michigan students, are covered by mask requirements implemented by their school district or local county health department," Whitmer said. "That number has increased substantially over the last few weeks, and we expect to see that trend continue as the first day of school approaches."

Whitmer urged all Michiganders ages 12 and older to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

"Together, we can protect ourselves from COVID and ensure kids keep learning in-person," she said.

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