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Gov. Whitmer pushes local school mask mandates, despite viral video protest

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Governor Gretchen Whitmer continued to shy away from a statewide school mask mandate Wednesday, despite a viral video showing some Michigan parents defying a local mandate in Washtenaw County.

The video making the rounds on social media shows parents urging their mask-less children to enter Manchester High School this week, after school officials step aside.

One parent can be heard on the video telling the children, “They can’t touch you, just go ahead and go in.”

The students were violating the Washtenaw County Health Department school mask mandate for all K-12 students, which took effect on Tuesday. 

The governor said on Wednesday she hadn’t seen the video. But she remained steadfast that local mask mandates are stronger than a statewide school mask requirement.

“[A local mandate] increases the odds that people will follow them and will adhere to them when they feel as though they have had an opportunity for some input,” Whitmer told reporters after an education roundtable in Macomb County. “And that’s why this is such an important thing that these decisions are happening at the local level.”

About 60% of Michigan school children are in districts with mask mandates.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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