Eight Michigan counties to repeal school COVID-19 mask mandates

Counties will end mask mandates by end of month
Kindergartners in face masks

Eight Michigan counties will end school COVID-19 mask mandates on or before Feb. 28, citing lower COVID-19 metrics.

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan – which covers Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet and Otsego counties – will repeal its mandate Thursday, followed by Ingham County on Saturday. 

Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties will drop their's  Feb. 28, the last day of the month.

"The purpose of the First Amended Order was to protect students, school staff, as well as the community and was originally issued on August 27, 2021, and amended on November 9, 2021," health officer Lisa Peacock said in a statement.

"It was based on overwhelming medical evidence and support as well as then current and ongoing COVID-19 epidemic conditions including rapid growth of case and positivity rates, rising and ongoing strain on healthcare capacity, and a student population that was largely unvaccinated with no opportunity for vaccination of the youngest school-age children who weren’t yet eligible.”

The decision follows Oakland parents suing several schools for enforcing the county mask mandate and allegedly threatening to discipline children who violate it.

Oakland County cited lower key metrics in the decision – adult hospitalization dropping 72% since the peak on Jan. 10 and declining 67% for children since the highest number on Jan. 8 – as the virus' high-contagious Omicron variant spread throughout the country.

Still, the county's health department recommends people still wear masks indoors.

"Local health orders have been necessary during the pandemic, and these orders have helped protect in-person learning, critical health care capacity, and overall health," Washtenaw County Health Department Jimena Loveluck said in a statement.

However, individual students and schools can choose to wear or mandate masks if they please.

Detroit Public District Schools Community District, in Wayne County, will continue its mask mandate for now, said Superintendent Dr. Nikolia Vitti.