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State Senate passes bills to ban vaccine, mask mandates in schools

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio

The GOP-led Michigan Senate voted along party lines on Tuesday to stop schools from imposing vaccine and mask requirements to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Senator Tom Barrett (R-Charlotte) said mask and vaccine rules for kids are government overreach.

“That's why we need legislation that protects and defines clearly, draws a line in the sand, and says these are our rights as parents that the government cannot cross,” he said.

Michigan schools already require many vaccines at enrollment and a process exists for vaccine exemptions.

State Senator Erika Geiss (D-Taylor) said the science shows masks and vaccines reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

“Let me hit you with some facts. Some top headlines: 'schools without mask mandates more likely to have COVID outbreak, study says.' 'CDC: COVID outbreaks far higher at schools without mask mandates.' 'More outbreaks infecting more students at Michigan schools.' That's just the top three just from a simple Google search,” she said.

One bill would also prevent schools from testing asymptomatic kids. Governor Gretchen Whitmer would likely veto the bills if they reach her desk.

Copyright 2021 Michigan Radio

Russ McNamara | WDET