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Michigan State Board of Education VP calling for mask mandate in schools

Dr. Pamela Pugh writes letter to Governor Whitmer and state health department requesting a mandate
Published: Sep. 18, 2021 at 6:41 AM EDT
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SAGINAW COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - (09/17/2021) - The tense debate over masking in schools across Michigan is ramping up.

Now, the Vice President of the State Board of Education is getting involved.

Saginaw-native, Dr. Pamela Pugh is urging Governor Whitmer’s administration to implement a mask mandate for schools across the state.

“We can only expect and prepare for the worst, and we’re not doing that. We’re not doing that,” Pugh said.

Pugh is sounding the alarm, concerned about the health and safety of students across Michigan. The former City of Flint Chief Health Advisor now serves as the Vice President of the State Board of Education.

“We’re leaving our children defenseless against this deadly disease,” Pugh said.

With COVID cases rising in young children, Dr. Pugh wrote to Governor Whitmer and the state health department in late-August requesting a mandate. This week, Pugh received a letter from Elizabeth Hertel...the MDHHS Director. Hertel says she’s relying on districts and local public health leaders collaborating to make it easier for communities to buy into the idea.

”When you’re dealing with people who are on this local level, this is not something that they’re equipped for. They don’t have security. They don’t have addresses that are off the streets. People typically know where folks live,” Pugh said.

Some communities and school districts are beginning to take some action in the fight against COVID, but the ideas vary. Saginaw County’s Health Department is recommending masking in schools, but it’s not a mandate.

Saginaw Township Community Schools voted this week to make masks a requirement, but the Board President says those types of decisions shouldn’t fall on the local level.

“It’s put in the laps of schools boards around the state and seven board members and a superintendent with absolutely no medical training, so we’re doing the best we can, but there’s no way we can make everybody happy,” David Jaffe said during a board meeting on Monday night.

Dr. Pugh sent a second letter to the health department begging for a statewide mask mandate to protect the state’s children, teachers and families.

So far she has not heard back.

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