LANSING, Mich. (Great Lakes News) – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is recommending that children continue to wear masks when they go back to school this fall.
Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan’s Chief Deputy for Health at MDHHS said, “[COVID-19] vaccines are the reason transmission of the virus in Michigan is at the lowest point in a year. However, as the school environment brings together large groups of individuals who may not yet be vaccinated, MDHHS is issuing this guidance to help protect Michiganders of all ages.”
However, many across the state are pushing back against this new guidance. Beth DeShone with the Great Lakes Education Project said, “Just a few days before this recommendation came out [on June 25] the governor opened the entire state of Michigan and said masks aren’t required anymore.”
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s unilateral powers came to a halt on October 2 when the Michigan Supreme Court ruled a 1945 law she used as the basis for her pandemic orders as unconstitutional. Three days later, she cited an obscure 1918 Spanish influenza law to mobilize MDHHS to carry out her orders, which included some of the strictest mask mandates in the country.
In addition, Whitmer had to scrap her “MI Vacc to Normal Plan” as vaccination numbers plateaued. She had originally tied the state’s reopening to a four-tiered benchmark system.
Throughout the last 15 months, Gov. Whitmer has repeatedly stated that the “science is settled” and that “masks save lives.”
“I would really love to know what science and data she’s following that implies children under the age of 12, who are the least vulnerable to this virus, should be masked,” said DeShone.
Numerous studies, including this one from The Journal of the American Medical Association, states that young children are at low risk for COVID-19.
The parent-led group “Let Them Play,” which grew on social media after the state required weekly COVID-19 testing for student athletes this spring, is encouraging parents to go to local school board meetings and demand that masks not be required for the upcoming school year.
“That’s all we’re asking for,” said group administrator Jayme Ansel McElvaney in a Facebook post. “[We want] our school boards to stand up and fight for our right to make choices for our children.”