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Benzie Central School Board will now require masks to be worn at K-12 schools

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31931 2011 Blue Bird 77 Maximum Passenger School Bus by bsabarnowl is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
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The Benzie Central School Board will now require masks to be worn at K-12 schools, as mandated by the local health department.

Earlier this week, the board voted to defy the health department’s mask mandate.

But Friday, several trustees changed their vote after determining they’d likely lose a battle with the health department.

School board member Stephanie Johnston says her mind wasn’t changed by additional health department guidance, but she didn’t want to risk an expensive lawsuit.

“There was no way in my mind that I wanted to start school breaking a mandate. That's not who I am. I'm a rule follower. But in my mind it was an act of civil disobedience.”

Some parents who attended the meeting said they were shocked at the last minute change, the weekend before school is set to start.

They said they may unenroll their children, who they do not feel should be made to wear masks in school.

“By enforcing the mandate we have families that really like the idea of being able to have that choice. We have the risk of losing those students to neighboring districts who have that choice."

But she says they’d have no students to educate if the health department shut down their schools.