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Allegan County health officer standing by public health order requiring K-6 grade students wear masks in the classroom

Allegan County seal
Allegan County Health Department - Facebook
Allegan County seal

August was a busy month for Michigan public health officers. The school year was fast approaching and the contagious Delta variant was spreading. On August 18th, the Allegan County Health Department issued a public health order telling the parents of kindergarten through sixth grade students, their children would need to wear masks in classroom settings. Two days later, the Allegan County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution asking the order be rescinded.

The Allegan County Health Department responded explaining in the interest of protecting public health it would not explaining the data and process behind its decision.

Not only that, but it amended the initial emergency order, “to include a more distinct data related timeline which will result in the order to be in effect until Allegan County remains in the low transmission level for 7 consecutive days, or until six weeks past the date the COVID-19 vaccine is authorized and available to persons age five years through age eleven.”

As for the County Board of Commissioners, outside legal counsel, Miller Johnson, explained that under Michigan’s Public Health Code it does not have the authority to intervene in the duties of the county health officer.

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.