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Michigan's local health leaders want statewide K-12 mask mandate after threats, harassment

Kristen Jordan Shamus and Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press on

Published in News & Features

Derusha is hopeful this latest appeal to Hertel won't also be ignored. The first letter, sent on Sept. 8, was never even acknowledged.

"It makes us feel abandoned," he said. "We've been doing everything within our power to help keep our citizens safe. And at this point, it is clearly a statewide issue.

"I fear the situation locally will only get worse and more people will get sick."

Vic Michaels, an assistant superintendent with the Archdiocese of Detroit who oversees COVID-19 policies for 87 Catholic or private schools in six counties, said it's also been a trying time for school leaders trying to wade through the public health advice about masks and the strong opinions of frustrated parents.


If the state budget provision prohibiting local health departments from enacting mask requirements is enacted, it places the burden squarely on the shoulders of school leaders.

"To ask a principal who has no education in health, like the health departments do, to make that decision is not fair," he said. "We need to work with our health departments ... and count on their advice on whether a school should be masked or not."


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