Lisa Papas, a former music teacher elected to the Grosse Pointe Board of Education last November, asks six fellow trustees to challenge a Wayne County indoor mask mandate for students and school employees.
At a Monday night meeting, she introduced a resolution that says: "Mask wearing remains a personal choice and will be permitted at school by any student, staff or community volunteer who chooses to do so." The board will vote in two weeks.
Papas fears some students can't clearly hear masked teachers. "No matter what decision we make on this resolution, there are people that are not going to agree with it," she said, according to WXYZ, which notes that the district has reported 22 new Covid cases among staff and students this month.
The station quotes parent Tom Torrento, who said at the meeting that his 10-year-old daughter "has repeatedly said that without people wearing a mask, she will not go to school because she doesn't feel safe."
Another speaker, Barb Peberdy of Grosse Pointe, said her two teens are vaccinated but she feels "getting vaccinated and wearing masks should be completely optional for all.
"If you want to get vaccinated, great. If you don't, great, that's your choice. If you want to wear a mask, great do so. if you don't you should not be forced to do so."
In Oakland, the Oxford Community Schools board tonight will consider whether to opt out of that county's mask mandate. The superintendent, Jon Dean, opposes the move.
Detroit News coverage includes statewide context:
Michigan is experiencing an uptick in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations as temperatures decrease and more activities move indoors. The state's tracking numbers indicate that counties without school mask mandates are seeing higher infection rates than those with them.
Last week, a state Department of Health and Human Services presentation said the back-to-school period saw case rates increase for all ages, but increases "were highest for counties without school masking."