Skubick: Whitmer won’t order masks in schools despite advice from medical advisors

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has steadfastly refused to issue a state mandate that all school children mask up for the upcoming fall semester, but her chief medical advisor has revealed for the first time that she has told the governor if a mandatory mask mandate was in place, “it would likely decrease the spread of COVID-19 in schools.”

The governor is recommending that masks be used by children, teachers and staff this fall, but when pressed on why she is not issuing a mandate, the governor reports she and the GOP legislature thought the right thing to do was let local school boards make that call.

During an audio media briefing on COVID today the first question was, had anybody in the health department made a recommendation to the governor to do the mandate.  

The spokeswoman for the department, Lynn Sutfin, offered this:

“I don’t know if that would be a question for dr. Lyon-Callo to answer. So we’re probably going to have to get back to you.”

When asked why the department was not issuing a mandate, ms. Sutfin offered this:

“I guess I don’t know if we have an answer to that question right now.”

What the spokeswoman did not reveal is that somebody was on the line who could have answered those questions: the governor’s chief medical advisor dr. Khaldun, who was asked if she made the mandatory mask recommendation to the governor.

“My job is to always recommend public health interventions and policies that would be protective. I have continued to do that throughout the past several weeks as well,” she said.

When she was then asked if she “specifically” make that recommendation for the first time, she reveals “I have recommended that if a mask mandate we’re in place, [and an] audit were followed, it would likely decrease the spread of COVID-19 in schools.”

The Senate GOP leader Mike Shirkey on the mandatory mask mandate dismissed it as the “dumbest thing to do.”

Obviously, Dr. Khaldun does not agree, but can’t she explain why the governor has not acted on it.

Public Health Director Elizabeth Hertel was on the call, “but not able to hear the entire briefing.”

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