Wayne County issues mask mandate for all schools this fall

All Wayne County schools must enforce face mask mandate under new order

FILE - In this Aug. 17, 2021, file photo Leandra Walker, center, helps her daughter Mila Walker, 5, with her mask before she enters school with her siblings Olivia, 7, left, and her twin Max for the first day of classes in Richardson, Texas. A new poll finds that a majority of Americans support mask and vaccine mandates for students and teachers in K-12 schools. The poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that about 6 in 10 Americans say masks and vaccines should be required in schools. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)
FILE - In this Aug. 17, 2021, file photo Leandra Walker, center, helps her daughter Mila Walker, 5, with her mask before she enters school with her siblings Olivia, 7, left, and her twin Max for the first day of classes in Richardson, Texas. A new poll finds that a majority of Americans support mask and vaccine mandates for students and teachers in K-12 schools. The poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that about 6 in 10 Americans say masks and vaccines should be required in schools. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

DETROIT – The Wayne County Public Health Department issued a new public health order Friday mandating local school districts, schools and daycare providers require students, faculty, staff and visitors to wear a face mask while in school and during school-sponsored indoor events.

The order takes effect immediately.

Wayne County health officials announced the mandate Friday as the highly contagious COVID-19 delta variant continues to spread rapidly and threaten public health. Officials have issued a countywide mask requirement for all Wayne County schools for the 2021-2022 school year, superseding any mask policies already put in place by individual school districts.

This includes students, staff, employees and visitors at public, private and parochial educational settings, including daycare centers, throughout Wayne County.

The order directs schools and daycare providers to:

  • Require indoor wearing of face masks for all pre-kindergarten through grade 12 students, regardless of their vaccine status; and,
  • Require face masks be worn indoors by all teachers, administrative staff, other employees, parent/guardians, attendees, and volunteers.

While national health officials and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services have recommended universal masking at schools this academic year as the highly contagious delta variant sweeps through the region, the state of Michigan does not intend to issue a sweeping mask mandate for schools. Instead, individual school districts have been left to determine whether masks are mandatory or optional for students and staff.

The Wayne County Public Health Department issued a new public health order Friday mandating local school districts, schools and daycare providers require students, faculty, staff and visitors to wear a face mask while in school and during school-sponsored indoor events.
The Wayne County Public Health Department issued a new public health order Friday mandating local school districts, schools and daycare providers require students, faculty, staff and visitors to wear a face mask while in school and during school-sponsored indoor events.

Prior to the county’s mask mandate, at least 11 school districts in Wayne County had so far issued mask mandates for the fall, including Detroit public schools, Plymouth-Canton public schools and Livonia public schools. The new countywide health order will not be imposed on the city of Detroit, which resides in the county but has its own health department -- still, schools in the Detroit Public Schools Community District are currently required to enforce a universal mask policy, due to a mandate issued by the district.

Wayne County is now the second Metro Detroit county to issue a countywide mask requirement for schools for the 2021-2022 school year, following Oakland County. Genesee County, home to Flint, also has a schools mask mandate in place as the academic year get underway.

A few other Michigan counties, mostly on the state’s west side, have issued countywide mask requirements for their schools this fall. You can see a map of those counties below.

We’re also tracking which individual Michigan school districts and colleges are requiring face masks to be worn, at least indoors, for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Note: This list is not comprehensive and will be updated as more information is gathered. If your school district or college is requiring face masks and is not listed below, please send us an email with information and we will include it.

Note: As noted in the map above, some county health departments have issued public health orders that supersede any school district decisions. Those are marked in yellow in the table below.

View: Michigan COVID data

The Wayne County Public Health Department issued a new public health order Friday mandating local school districts, schools and daycare providers require students, faculty, staff and visitors to wear a face mask while in school and during school-sponsored indoor events.
The Wayne County Public Health Department issued a new public health order Friday mandating local school districts, schools and daycare providers require students, faculty, staff and visitors to wear a face mask while in school and during school-sponsored indoor events.

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About the Authors:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.