Michigan School Students Not Required to Wear Masks after Supreme Court Ruling

K-4 children attending certain schools in Genesee County, Michigan, will not be required to wear masks in their classrooms following a ruling by the Michigan Supreme Court.

The Davison Community Schools public school district said in a letter to parents that they will not be requiring students in kindergarten through fourth grade to wear masks while they are in class.

They will still be required to wear masks on the bus, in the hallways and when moving place to place, the letter to parents and guardians said.

Students in grades 5-12 will still be required to wear masks all day in the Davison Community Schools district.

"These requirements are part of the state's Return to Learn Plan, approved by the state Legislature in August, as well as the district's Return to School Plan that was approved by the Board of Education," the district's superintendent Kevin Brown said in the letter to parents.

"We will continue to comply with the procedures set forth in these plans. If anything changes moving forward, we will let parents know immediately," Brown said.

On Friday, Michigan Supreme Court ruled that its governor, Gretchen Whitmer, does not have the authority to extend emergency orders.

The Democratic governor issued an executive order in March declaring a state of emergency and expanded it through another executive order in April.

The Republican-controlled legislature in the state passed a resolution to extend the state of emergency, but only until April 30.

The governor has, since then, continued to issue several more orders related to the pandemic, including one executive order on September 25, which was due to be enforced as of today, that required all students from kindergarten up to wear masks inside their classrooms.

She cited two state laws, the Emergency Management Act of 1976 and the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act from 1945, as granting her the authority to continue the emergency orders past April 30.

In a 4-3 decision, Michigan's Supreme Court said she did not have that authority, and that her executive orders issued after April 30 would no longer be valid.

Nevertheless, in her comment about the ruling, Governor Whitmer said: "It is important to note that this ruling does not take effect for at least 21 days, and until then, my emergency declaration and orders retain the force of law."

According to the Davison Community Schools website, there have been seven reported cases in the district and 318 children have had to be quarantined since classes started.

As of October 3, 7,124 had died from COVID-19 in Michigan, and more than 141,000 cases had been reported.

Davison Community Schools has been contacted for comment.

New York Back to School
Elementary school students are welcomed back to P.S. 188 as the city's public schools open for in-person learning on September 29, 2020 in New York City. In Genesee County, Michigan, certain K-4 children won't have to wear a mask while in their classroom after a Supreme Court ruling. Spencer Platt/Getty Images