Berrien County health department reverses mask mandate
BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich.— The Berrien County Health Department’s school mask mandate is no longer in effect as of Thursday.
the monumental decision comes hours after Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the new state budget. The language jeopardizes funding for health departments enforcing mask requirements in classrooms.
While the legislation would penalize local health departments for implementing mask mandates of their own, schools are still allowed to require masks indoors if they choose.
Berrien County’s universal mask mandate put into place in September applied to all students in Pre-K through 12 grade. But, because of language included in the 2022 state budget by Republican lawmakers, the requirement is now being reversed. Otherwise, the health department would risk losing out on about $2 million in funding which helps pay for community programs and services.
However, despite the decision, some districts are still upholding their own mask mandates, including Benton Harbor Area Schools, St. Joseph Public Schools, and the River Valley School District in Three Oaks
Some schools are remaining masks optional, include Coloma Community School District, Niles Community School, Brandywine Community Schools, and Buchanan Community School.