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Michigan parent group lobbies for mask mandates in all schools

MiPASS started a statewide petition encouraging the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to beef up mask rules
Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 11:28 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - A coalition of parents across Michigan launched a statewide petition drive to encourage mask mandates in all schools this fall.

The Michigan Parents Alliance for Safe Schools called on the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to require masks for staff and students in all schools regardless of vaccination status. They cited rising COVID-19 case numbers in Michigan.

MiPASS launched a statewide online petition drive on Wednesday for parents in favor of wearing face masks in schools. The group also wants to ramp up pressure on politicians who oppose mask rules in schools.

“Responsible Americans who listen to science and medical experts are taking action to defend our children and our loved ones from COVID-19, by wearing masks and getting vaccinated, and parents are outraged that anti-science politicians are threatening those of us who are standing up for public health and safety,” said Emily Mellits, a Macomb County parent and MiPASS member.

She said masks are the “bare minimum” necessary to protect the elderly, people with weakened immune systems and children who are too young to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

MiPASS is affiliated with a dozen parent groups encouraging face coverings in Michigan schools, including Genesee County Parents for Safe in Person School.

As of last week, more than 60% of students in Michigan are covered by rules requiring face coverings.

The Genesee County Health Department was among the first to impose a countywide mask mandate for schools in July. It since has been expanded to include students, staff and volunteers in pre-K through 12th grade, along some afterschool activities.

Eight of Michigan’s 10 most populous counties have school mask orders in place for the new school year.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services recommends face coverings for all students, staff and volunteers in kindergarten through 12th grade this fall. However, school districts and local health departments can set their own face mask policies.

“Regardless of where they are in Michigan, all children deserve to be protected as much as they can against a virus that can have worse long-term consequences than the flu, is as contagious as smallpox and preventable with simple, safe, inexpensive mitigation safeguards that include wearing a mask indoors,” said Dr. Rosemary Olivero, a pediatric infectious disease physician practicing in West Michigan.

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