The state of Michigan allows school districts to determine their policies on masking, which is a terrible idea since it politicizes decisions in each district. The decision about masking and vaccinations should be made by public health professionals, not laymen.

In Ottawa, Michigan, a crowd of hundreds of anti-maskers showed up to a meeting of the County Commission to protest the decision by the school board and the Health Department to require that children from preK-6th grade, who are not yet eligible for vaccinations, must wear masks. Carol Burris of the Network for Public Education shared a tweet with me, which had gone viral.

After I listened to this enraged and threatening rant, I read more about Ottawa County. Dr. Rob Davison testified in favor of the masking requirement, and when he left the board meeting, he was confronted by hundreds of anti-masking parents.

The chair of the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners released a statement critical of those who came to the meeting to “bully and intimidate” anyone who supported the mask mandate that had been recommenced by the local Health Department.

On August 9, the county Health Department reported that the COVID risk level had increased from “moderate” to “substantial.”

Only a few days later, on August 13, the Health Department announced that the COVID risk had gone from “substantial” to “high,” the highest risk level.

Public health officials urged citizens to take all necessary precautions, including wearing masks indoors. They said:

The spread of the delta variant is most likely fueling the increase of positive case rates in Ottawa County. The delta variant is causing concern because of its high rate of transmission and severity of illness.

The virus is infecting mostly unvaccinated people, though breakthrough cases in vaccinated people are emerging.

“The delta variant is spreading quickly, increasing the number of positive cases reported in Ottawa County,” said Derel Glashower, Senior Epidemiologist at Ottawa County Department of Public Health. “The delta variant has pushed us into the ‘high risk of transmission’ category so it is important to take extra precautions to protect ourselves and our community.”

In light of the worsening situation, on August 20, the Health Department mandated masks for all students in Pre-K to sixth grade in schools.

The goal, health officials say, is to protect vulnerable people and those who can’t get vaccinated from the virus, slow the spread of the virus and keep kids in classrooms. 

“This was a necessary decision as we are seeing rapid increases in COVID-19 cases due to the highly contagious Delta variant,” Kent County Administrative Health Officer Adam London said in a Friday statement. “It also appears as though this variant may be more likely to cause serious illness and hospitalization, so we need to take precautions to keep our children healthy and in school.”

Despite all these warnings by public health professionals, large numbers of people in Ottawa County oppose masking their children.

Several parents at the recent County Commission meeting were seen with posters that said, “My body, my choice.” One can’t help but wonder if they support abortion, given their stance. One doubts it.