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Education

State's top school admins: School superintendents shouldn't bear burden of deciding mask mandates

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An organization of Michigan’s top school administrators is urging health officials to partner with school districts in decisions related to requiring masks in schools.

So far, a few county health departments have issued mandates requiring masks in Kindergarten through sixth grade.

When it comes to mandating masks, the Michigan Association of Superintendents & Administrators, or MASA, says school districts and health departments need to act as partners in discussing and making decisions. Tina Kerr is the executive director of MASA. She says the pressure is being placed on school officials.

“And the superintendents obviously are out in front, we really are advocating for these partnerships being strengthened, and that local health departments really do help support their local superintendents knowing that this is a very tenuous situation for them,” she said.

Kerr says superintendents shouldn’t have to bear the burden of monitoring COVID-19 cases in their communities to determine whether a universal mask mandate is needed.

“For our superintendents to be getting death threats - that's not what they went into this position for, they wanted to focus on teaching and learning," she said. "And now, what we seem the majority to be focusing on is math.”

Kerr says superintendents don’t have the necessary guidance from health officials to make these kinds of decisions for their individual districts. 

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