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Federal appeals court to consider whether Michigan students can be required to wear masks

young girl and boy with masks and backbacks on
Kelly Sikkena

On Wednesday, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments on whether requiring Michigan students to wear masks in classrooms violates their constitutional rights.

The case involves a Catholic elementary school – Lansing-based Resurrection School – which contends that any state mandate that children age five and older wear a mask in classrooms is unconstitutional. 

The school says such a rule would violate “sincerely held religious beliefs” because they say humans were made in the image of God, and masks shield that image from being seen.

They also allege requiring masks poses a health or learning problem for students who have allergies, difficulty breathing, or trouble being understood when they talk through a face covering.

A federal judge has already denied a preliminary injunction in the case. 

There is currently no mandate in the state of Michigan that requires children to wear masks in school. Michigan health officials have recommended that students and faculty wear masks at school, though it’s up to individual districts to set their own rules regarding safety protocols against COVID-19.

The superintendent of Detroit’s Public Schools Community District, for one, says at the moment they plan to require masks indoors unless everyone in a room is vaccinated. Children under age 12 are not yet eligible to receive a vaccine.

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