There’s a battle brewing in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula.  It amounts to an internal struggle between board members and staff of the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. The department is responsible for health issues covering four counties, Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego. It operates just like a local county health department, but it covers four counties instead of just one.

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The local health officer issued a virus mask order for all schools in the four counties. The order requires all students in grades K-12 to wear masks at school. The same requirement is in place for teachers, staff, and any visitors to school buildings.

But Board members of the department say the order was issued without their being consulted. They are telling the staff members, their mask order is a direct assault on the decisions already made by many school boards and superintendents to forgo mask mandates.

The health department board is telling staff to appear at a meeting next Tuesday. And they need to bring with them - a corrected order -  rescinding the first. The board says the staff mask mandate amounts to an authoritarian edict that lacks clear and concise methodology, and metrics.  The board says it also runs contrary to the Governor’s decision to let local school leaders decide how to handle the ongoing COVID-19 virus situation.

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