Ingham County Health Dept. speaks on current school health orders

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Ingham County Health Officer and the Ingham County Health Dept. have released a statement regarding local health orders in educational settings.

Both the masking and quarantine orders made by Ingham County are still in effect.

The Ingham County Health Department has received numerous inquiries regarding the status and legality of our local public health emergency orders for educational settings after the Governor signed the 2022 state budget bill which includes language that threatens public health funding. After consulting with legal counsel, it is now clear that the Health Departments retain the authority to issue and enforce their emergency orders. The boilerplate language, the written statement of the Governor, and the Michigan Constitution have been reviewed and analyzed and the boilerplate language will have no effect on the Ingham County Health Department, its budget, or existing public health orders.

The September 2, 2021 Emergency Orders, Mask Requirement for Educational Institutions and Settings (Ingham2021-2) and Isolation and Quarantine Order in Educational Settings (Ingham2021-3) will remain in effect until further notice from the Ingham County Health Officer. The Ingham County Health Department remains committed to protecting the public health and maintaining a healthy and safe school environment for our children.

The statement comes after the Barry-Eaton Health Department rescinded its mask mandate for schools effective midnight on Oct. 1.

These two local emergency orders required face coverings and COVID-19 quarantine and isolation procedures for schools and other educational settings in Barry and Eaton counties.

“The rescission of these orders is due to boilerplate language included in the Fiscal 2022 state budget that purports to restrict funding to local health departments with COVID-19 local emergency orders in effect as of October 1, 2021,” an official press release stated.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday deemed some Republican-backed budget provisions to be unconstitutional attempts to restrict COVID-19 public health measures but allowed language limiting possible government vaccination requirements.

Whitmer’s office already said she would block two sections affecting local health departments.

One would have prohibited mask mandates for anyone under 18. The other would have stripped the agencies’ funding if they had a pandemic order in effect as of this Friday, unless county commissioners voted to support it.

“The legislature cannot unwind the Public Health Code in a budget bill or un-appropriate funds because they take issue with the actions of local health department,” she wrote in a letter to lawmakers.

To access the Ingham County order regarding masking in schools, click here.

To read the Ingham County order regarding quarantine and isolation in schools, click here.

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