News Story

Kent County Imposes Virtual Mask Ultimatum On Schoolchildren

Mask-up, or parents will likely have children at home for 10-day quarantines

The Kent County Health Department imposed a new order on Aug. 6 that amounts to an ultimatum on schools to impose mask mandates on students under age 12 and those students who have not been vaccinated. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved vaccines for ages 12-to-15 in May.

The Kent County Health Department order requires that in schools and other educational settings, anyone not vaccinated who comes into “household close contacts of confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases” quarantine for 10 days.

COVID vaccines have not been approved for children age 11 and under, according to order. For these students, the order amounts to a mask ultimatum, given their likelihood of having close contact with COVID-positive individuals at some point. Parents of children who don’t comply could have to arrange for one or more 10-day periods of having children at home during the upcoming school year.

The order applies to educational settings, including K-12 schools and preschools, colleges and universities, youth camps and programs, child care centers, and trade schools. It also extends to extracurricular activities and school athletics.

“Close contact” is defined as being within six feet of someone who has COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more. It excludes being within three feet of an infected student if both “were engaged in consistent and correct use of well-fitting masks.”

The order, which applies in Kent County, took effect immediately and will remain in place indefinitely. It does not apply to “fully vaccinated persons without symptoms who are not currently in isolation as COVID-19 cases.”


Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.