Senate education panel affirms parental choice on student masks, COVID-19 vaccines

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Education and Career Readiness Committee on Tuesday approved four bills affirming Michigan parents’ rights to choose whether their children wear face masks at school or receive a vaccine against COVID-19.

“Children belong to their parents — not the state and not a school — and, as such, it is a parent’s right to determine their health care. This includes whether their student receives a COVID-19 vaccine or wears a face mask,” said Sen. Lana Theis, R-Brighton, who chairs the committee and sponsored two of the bills. “Furthermore, no student should be discriminated against or otherwise punished in any way for not having a vaccine or wearing a mask. If a student is asymptomatic, they should be treated just like everyone else, and this legislation will ensure they are.”

Senate Bill 600 would prevent Michigan school districts from requiring vaccines that have only been authorized under emergency use for students to attend school or members of the public to attend school board meetings.

SB 601 would allow students to receive a waiver from wearing a face mask at school and prohibit schools from testing asymptomatic students for COVID-19 infection to ride a school bus or enter a school building.

SB 602 would similarly prohibit the state Department of Health and Human Services from requiring students to receive a vaccine that has only been authorized under emergency use, from wearing a face mask and from being tested for COVID-19 if asymptomatic to enter a school, ride a bus or participate in school activities.

SB 603 would prohibit local health departments from requiring students to receive a vaccine that has only been authorized under emergency use, from wearing a face mask and from being tested for COVID-19 if asymptomatic to enter a school, ride a bus or participate in school activities. It would also prevent them from requiring individuals from the same to attend school board meetings.

The bills now advance to the full Senate for consideration.