DICKINSON AND IRON COUNTIES, Mich. (WJMN) – Dickinson-Iron District Health Department says they are regretfully rescinding their mask order for children in kindergarten through grade 6.
“The decision to issue the mask order was not based on a political platform; the decision was based on current local data and guiding health principles,” said Daren Deyaert, Health Officer. “The decision came after exhausting all other options while considering the public health’s best interest.”
The department says while they still feel this is the best option, the department was informed on Wednesday, September 22 of language in the fiscal year 2022 state budget (Senate Bill 82) that jeopardizes future health department funding. The bill has been approved and Governor Whitmer has indicated she will sign the bill early next week.
DIDHD says according to Senate Bill 82, section 1222 part 4, any health department that has issued and emergency order in attempt to combat COVID-19 will be negatively impacted. The funds appropriated for essential local public health services will be withheld. Essential local public health services include: immunizations, infectious disease control , sexually transmitted disease control and prevention, hearing screening, vision services, food protection, public water supply, private groundwater supply and on-site sewage management.
“We understand without this funding, we will lose important programs along with several staff positions,” said Deyaert. “These programs have been a staple in our community for the last 85 years. It has been a very difficult decision to be forced to choose between what is best for the public’s current health situation versus the future of our essential public health programs what will hopefully continue to serves our community for years to come.”
It is still possible for a mask mandate to exist for school aged children ; however, the decision is left to local school districts or by a majority roll call vote by county commissioners from both Dickinson and Iron counties.
“Masks continue to be an important tool to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Ruth Manier, Community Health Services Director. “There are numerous studies that indicate that consistent and correct mask use effectively and safely prevents the spread of COVID-19.”
Dickinson-Iron Dirstict Health Department says they continue to encourage the community to mask up, wash hands, practice social distancing and get vaccinated when and if eligible.
- Video shows fearless feline chase coyote away from Oregon home
- Costs add up for Benton Harbor restaurants amid water problems
- Tree planting event brings inclusivity to the world of conservation
- Deadly bacterial infection linked to room spray sold at Walmart
- State leaders kick off MI New Economy Plan tour in Marquette