Wayne County senators pen letter to health department asking for school mask requirement

Senators request health order for masks in public schools

A summer school student wears a protective mask in class at the E.N. White School in Holyoke, Mass., on Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021. Schools across the U.S. are about to start a new year amid a flood of federal money larger than they've ever seen before, an infusion of pandemic relief aid that is four times the amount the U.S. Department of Education sends to K-12 schools in a typical year. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) (Charles Krupa, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

LIVONIA, Mich. – Wayne County senators have sent a letter to the county’s health director requesting an emergency health order to require masks be worn by staff and students in all public schools.

The letter, addressed to Director Melita Jordan, cites the upward trend of COVID-19 cases in Wayne County for the past several weeks. A major concern noted in the letter is that without proper COVID mitigation procedures such as mask-wearing, outbreaks could occur and force students back out of the classroom.

“We know that you share the same concerns we do when it comes to safeguarding the public’s health and giving our students every chance to succeed -- and stay healthy -- by learning in-person this academic year. Masks are a proven, effective means to this end,” the letter reads. “As local leaders, please know that you have our support if the Wayne County Department of Health, Human and Veteran Services chooses to follow the lead of neighboring Michigan counties by requiring universal K-12 masking in our schools.”

The letter is signed by senators Dayna Polehanki (District 7), Erika Geiss (District 6), Stephanie Chang (District 1), Adam Hollier (District 2), Sylvia Santana (District 3), Marshall Bullock (District 4), and Betty Jean Alexander (District 5).

Michigan health officials have recommended universal mask wearing for all students and school staff in the fall as COVID-19 cases trend upward once again, in line with guidance from the CDC. The state is not planning to issue a mask mandate at schools, however.

Read more: Michigan schools receive updated COVID guidance for return to in-person learning

Individual school districts have been left to decide if masks should be mandated or not at their schools. Several Michigan districts have announced plans to require masks at their schools.

Moreover, some county health departments -- including Oakland County -- have issued superseding public health orders that are requiring masks in schools for specific age groups.

We’re keeping track of which Michigan school districts and colleges are requiring face masks this fall -- see the list here, or check it out below.