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Kent County GOP state lawmakers respond to KCHD mandating masks in Pre-Kindergarten through 6th grade classrooms

Kent County Health Department
Kent County Health Department

Republican and Democratic state lawmakers have been busy writing letters to Kent County Administrative Health Officer Dr. Adam London. Last week, Kent county Republicans asked Dr. London resist issuing a mask mandate. County Democratic leaders followed recommending he issue a mandate.

In the meantime, the Kent County Health Department raised the COVID-19 transmission risk level from “substantial” to “high.” By the end of the week, considering the rapid spread of the highly contagious delta variant and the unvaccinated population - students under the age of 12 ineligible for COVID-19 vaccines - Dr. London mandated mask use in Pre-K through 6th grade school buildings.

Tuesday, Kent County GOP state representatives Thomas Albert, Mark Huizenga, Steven Johnson and Bryan Posthumus sent another letter to Dr. London asking he reconsider his decision. While Dr. London has the legal authority, they point out he’s not an elected official and that school boards and parents should ultimately decide.

“I certainly value what they think on these matters and I have respect for all of them. But the reality is I have to set all of that aside.”

Friday, after issuing the face covering order, WGVU Spoke with Dr. London. He told us he following the science and the data.

“With the responsibilities and the powers and the duties that I have as a health officer of a county here in Michigan, it would be negligent of me to ignore the reality of what we’re facing in order to do anything out of convenience for politicians from any persuasion.”

Dr. London explains the body of evidence proves masks limit virus transmission minimizing the interruption of in-person learning.

The legislators say they, “will continue to explore all available options to address this situation and do our part to connect you with the views of our constituencies.”

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.