Important Update - October 5 - Regarding Masks and All Students
Dear DCS Families:
We are very sorry to inform you that, once again, we will need to change direction regarding our current practice of not requiring students in grades K-4 to wear masks while in the classroom - a practice that was adopted based on recommendations by the state’s Return to Learn Planning Committee and in place since school began on September 8.
We just learned this evening that Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon has issued an Emergency Order under MCL 333.2253 restricting gathering sizes, requiring face coverings in public spaces, and places limitations on bars and other venues. This order requires the wearing of masks at schools for all grades, except for in Michigan Economic Recovery Council Region 6. To read more about order, please click on this link: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/coronavirus/MDHHS_epidemic_order_-_Gatherings_masks_bars_sports_-_FINAL_704287_7.pdf
In addition, tonight we also received notice from the Genesee County Health Department that it is the department’s position that “all stipulations of the Executive Orders in force at the time of the Supreme Court ruling remain in effect until 21 days following the decision. All Genesee County residents, businesses and schools should continue the mask-wearing, social distancing, gathering size limitations and other directives of the Executive Orders designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”
The notice goes on to state: “The Genesee County Board of Commissioners, Genesee County Board of Health and the Genesee County Health Department are closely monitoring developments to understand the next steps in the state-wide approach to controlling this pandemic. If determined necessary, Health Officer John McKellar will issue local emergency public health orders to address expiring State epidemic control mandates.”
So, beginning tomorrow, Tuesday, October 6, students in grades K-4 will now be required to wear their masks the entire school day instead of just on buses, in hallways and common areas and while moving from place to place as they have since the start of school.
Today’s orders largely reinstate, under the MDHHS’ authority, three major aspects of prior emergency orders issued by Gov. Whitmer. These are the same orders that the Michigan Supreme Court ruled late last Friday that Governor Whitmer did not have authority to extend under two emergency acts -- the Emergency Management Act from 1976 and the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act from 1945.
Judging by the feedback we have received, we know that this decision will make many parents angry. We know it will make some parents happy. We have heard from both sides of the mask issue. Our position as an apolitical entity remains neutral - as it should - however, it does appear that we are caught in the middle of a political crossfire regarding this topic. And that is a shame because the back-and-forth causes confusion and turmoil for our parents and staff but, most of all, it saddens us because we know that these constant changes greatly affect our kids.
Please know that our mission has not changed, we will continue to put kids first here in Davison. We will comply with the current order issued by the MDHHS and follow the guidance of the Genesee County Health Department as well as continue to consult with our legal counsel regarding these matters.. If - or when - things change, please know that we will communicate any updates with our parents as soon as we receive them.