COVID-19

Parent group calls for statewide mask mandate

The group is circulating a petition to prompt health officials to require masks in school.

Even as state legislators consider bills to ban mask mandates, parents across the state are organizing to push health officials to require masks in schools.

A group calling itself Michigan Parents Alliance for Safe Schools has started a petition asking the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to require masks for everyone in K-12 schools in the state. The MDHHS has the authority to issue such orders for the purposes of public health.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

A weekday morning email roundup of Kalamazoo stories and events.

“While effective, safe vaccines are now available for people ages 12 and older, more than 641,000 pre-K- to 5th-grade students in Michigan are still ineligible for vaccinations,” reads a message on the petition’s website. “For these children, a mask is all that stands between staying healthy and getting infected by a COVID-19-positive individual.”

About 60% of schools in the state currently have some sort of mask requirement, though specifics vary. All Kindergarten through sixth-grade students and staff in Kalamazoo County are required to wear masks under orders issued last month by the county’s health officer.

Despite current masking efforts, COVID-19 case rates have been rising in the state. Outbreaks of the virus in schools have grown rapidly since classes began, infecting nearly 900 people as of last week.

[MLive, Detroit Free Press]

Independent journalism is essential to a healthy democracy. Make a donation today.