Oxford is latest school district to discuss ending school mask mandate, defying county order

Posted at 5:27 AM, Nov 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-10 05:27:40-05

(WXYZ) — A big vote on whether or not to require masks in the classroom is pending at Oxford Community Schools.

The district is the latest in metro Detroit trying to balance what parents want and what the county health department is mandating.

The decisions are difficult for school districts because no matter what they decide, someone isn't happy. If they get rid of the mandate, they're going against a county-wide mask mandate, but if they keep it, they could lose funding under a new state budget passed by Republicans.

"They are just asking for a choice on their children," one parent said at a school board meeting.

The meetings show just how divided the community really is when it comes to masks.

"With me having seven children, I don't want my kids wearing mask. My son has asthma," one parent said.

"I think that everybody here should be wearing a mask. We are in school. That's the mandate. It's disappointing," another said.

Because parents are so divided, the Oxford Community Schools board said it's probably best to let them decide.

Board President Thomas Donnelly said he knows the move would be in violation of the county mask mandate, which applies to all districts.

"We just want to protect our district and do it legally," Donnelly said.

State Republicans recently passed a budget stating they can cut funding for local health departments that require masks.

Officials at the state and local levels aren't on the same page, making the decision really difficult for some board members.

In a statement, Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter reiterated his support for masks and said vaccination rates are too low and infection rates are too high to abandon ship now.

"Now is not the time to remove the mask mandate," one parent said.

The board didn't take up a vote at the meeting because not all members were present. The next meeting is scheduled for Dec. 14.

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