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Schools are confused by Michigan Supreme Court ruling

Schools confused by Michigan Supreme Court ruling
Posted at 1:29 AM, Oct 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-08 01:29:37-04

LANSING, Mich. — Schools across Michigan are once again trying to figure out what student safety rules they must follow after the Supreme Court ruling trashed the Governor’s executive orders on Friday.

Many say it has caused a lot of confusion.

“MDE communicates, then the health department communicates, then your local health department weighs in. The lawyers weigh in, so it’s interesting to find out what interpretation we’re supposed to follow because we all want to do the right thing for our students,” said Mandy Stewart, Superintendent of Charlotte Public Schools.

Steward says they’ve had to have a lot of early morning meetings and late night Google Meetings.

“To try to keep up with the stream of communication... because things changed from Saturday to Sunday to Monday to Tuesday this week,” said Stewart.

Superintendent of Eaton Rapids Public Schools, Bill DeFrance, echoes those feelings.

“I think it’s more than confusing. I’ve read four different legal interpretations of the Supreme Court decision and they all differ a little bit,” said DeFrance.

The Barry-Eaton Health Department says schools have been reaching out to them for guidance.

“The questions that we got mostly were around whether K-5 needed to wear masks and our answer to that is yes,” said Anne Barna, Planning and Health Promotion Director. “We’re in daily communication with school partners and we have a team that has been working to provide guidance to schools.”

For now, the health department has advised schools in their district to just stay the course for now and both schools say that’s what they plan to do.

“We’re just going to abide by what the board has approved until some of the dust settles on this,” said DeFrance. “I think we have a little bit more freedom. At the same time, I think we’re going to air on the side of caution on this.”

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has issued its own emergency orders. They require all students to wear masks.

Schools also have to go public with any new COVID-19 cases within 24 hours of learning about them from the state. Those orders are set to expire on October 30.

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