By Sean Chase
After Gov. Gretchen Whitmer lifted the state-wide mask mandate for fully vaccinated individuals on Saturday, May 15, many Michiganders joyfully ditched the face covering collections they had amassed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whitmer’s statement caused the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to adjust their orders. All of which came on the heels of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announcing that fully vaccinated individuals may resume pre-pandemic activities, such as large indoor and outdoor gatherings, without being required to follow mask mandates and social-distancing guidelines.
However, these announcements didn’t lay out a plan for educational institutions to check the status of vaccinations amongst their campus populations, leaving the decision and liability in the hands of the individual institutions.
As some Michiganders celebrated the end of mask mandates, students and employees of Grand Rapids Community College were told to follow established guidelines regarding masks and social-distancing, and wait for further information from the campus COVID-19 response team after their meeting on Monday, May 17.
Once the meeting was adjourned, the GRCC COVID-19 response team sent an email to the campus community.
“The updated MDHHS order that lifted the mask requirement for vaccinated individuals does not remove our institutional responsibility through the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration to require masking,” stated the email. “Therefore, the GRCC mask policy requiring face coverings for employees and students in campus buildings will remain in effect at this time and until further notice.”