BENTON HARBOR, Mich. — The Berrien County Health Department says it has been forced to revoke its mask mandate for school children.
The public health order, issued Sept. 1, required students in grades Pre-K–12 to wear masks while indoors.
We’re told the decision to rescind the order was made to avoid incurring a $1.5 million penalty in budget money as presaged in Senate Bill 82 and House Bill 4400. We’re told Governor Whitmer deemed the language “unconstitutional”; however, legal counselors have recommended Berrien County health officials to abide by it until it can be ruled as unconstitutional in court.
“It is appalling that local health departments in Michigan must choose between safeguarding school children from the threat of COVID-19 and the future funding for our essential public health programs,” says acting Health Officer Courtney Davis. “Our hands are tied. We make this decision citing grave concerns over the health of our community.”
Berrien County health officials say the redacted order takes effect at midnight into Thursday morning.