State Superintendent Supports the Wearing of Masks in Schools

October 5, 2020

LANSING – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Michael Rice this afternoon reiterated his support and encouragement for the use of masks in schools.

“According to experts in infectious diseases and epidemiology, masks are critical to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states, ‘Wearing a mask helps to protect others in your community.’”

The CDC notes the following as ways to reduce the likelihood of contracting coronavirus:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid close contact: Maintain 6 feet of distance between yourself and others outside of your household
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Clean and disinfect
  • Monitor your health daily

When people wear masks, they help protect all those around them. The CDC writes, “The mask is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.”

“The better we do with our mitigation strategies, the longer we will be able to keep schools open and have children attend school in person,” Dr. Rice said. “To go without masks is to risk the health of our friends, family, and school staff.”

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Director Robert Gordon today issued Emergency Order under MCL 333.2253 restricting gathering sizes and requiring face coverings in public spaces, including schools.

The order follows the Michigan Supreme Court decision on Friday, October 2, 2020 that invalidated COVID-19-related executive orders. Today’s order relies on authorities that were first enacted after the Flu of 1918, and that were not at issue in the Michigan Supreme Court’s decision. 

Under MCL 333.2253, if the MDHHS director determines that control of an epidemic is necessary to protect the public health, the director may prohibit by emergency order the gathering of people for any purpose and may establish procedures to be followed during the epidemic to insure continuation of essential public health services and enforcement of health laws.

Effective immediately until October 30, 2020, the order requires the wearing of masks at schools, except in Michigan Economic Recovery Council Region 6.