With the start of a new school year and some students returning to in-person instruction, public schools are following the State of Michigan's Return to School Roadmap. Should private schools have to follow the same guidelines?

Wood TV 8 says they have found at least one private school that says masks will be optional.

Deb Blanker, superintendent of Tri-Unity Christian in Wyoming, said in a letter to parents,

“As of today, we feel the use of facial coverings is a family decision …. If you choose to send your student to school in a face mask, I assure you they will feel the full support of our staff for taking this position.”

Wood TV 8 says Blanker declined an interview with them, but that the letter goes on to say,

"...there are a growing number of Christian schools who believe the executive orders issued do not apply to private, non-public institutions.”

The Michigan Return to School Roadmap lays out recommendations and requirements depending upon the state's current phase of reopening.

Under Phase 4, the masks requirements are as follows:

  • Facial coverings must always be worn by staff except for meals.
  • Facial coverings must be worn by preK-12 students, staff, and bus drivers during school transportation.
  • Facial coverings must always be worn in hallways and common areas by preK-12 students in the building except for during meals.
  • Facial coverings must be worn in classrooms by all students grades 6-12.
  • All students in grades K-5 must wear facial coverings unless students remain with their classes throughout the school day and do not come into close contact with students in another class.

Those who cannot medically tolerate a mask are exempt.

As Wood TV 8 reports, local health departments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the president are all urging people to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.