Governor Gretchen Whitmer introduced the MI Mask Aid program aimed at distributing 4 million free masks to high risk populations.

The MI Mask Aid initiative is a partnership between Michigan, FEMA, and The Ford Motor Company. The collaboration was formed by the recent Covid task force that Gov Whitmer put together. The goal is to make sure that the most vulnerable Michigan residents have access to free masks.

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During the press conference, Gov Whitmer detailed four of the primary groups that would be receiving the masks.

  • Low Income Residents
  • Schools
  • Homeless Shelters
  • Seniors

Whitmer talked about the challenges that requiring masks presents to everyone, and how specific segments of the population are having a harder time getting masks.

Vulnerable populations may have difficulties buying masks and our schools need face coverings to keep students, staff and community members safe. I am thrilled that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), Ford and FEMA are working together to help control the spread of the coronavirus

The theme of the entire press conference seemed to try to reinforce the fact that masks work! There is no real scientific evidence to dispute the effectiveness of masks, and that's why Gov Whitmer and her staff have been trying to reinforce the importance of masking up.

According to MidMichiganNow, the MI Mask Aid partnerships have allowed the MDHHS to expand range of the free masks.  Around 1.5 Million masks from FEMA have already been sent to the following organizations.

  • Local Community Action Agencies serving low-income residents
  • MDHHS offices
  • Area Agencies on Aging
  • Homeless shelters
  • Native American tribes

FEMA and Ford have combined to give another 2.5 Millions masks to the following organizations.

  • Low-income schools
  • The City of Detroit
  • Federally Qualified Health Centers
  • Select COVID-19 testing sites

As Governor Whitmer opened up questions from the press, most of them dealt with going back to school, and the policies around that. Schools are supposed to present their plans to Gov Whitmer today for review, but that does not mean that a rock solid plan will be put in place any time soon.

The fact is that going back to school will be a fluid process, with many changes throughout the year. I know that my district has made an announcement, but could completely change course by this time next week. It's not an easy situation for anyone involved, but patience will be the key.

The one thing we do know is that masks work to prevent the spread of the virus, and we should all be doing everything we can to promote this indisputable fact.

If you have questions, or need more information about the state's Coronavirus plan, you can get the information here.