By Mike Kruzman /

Marion Township officials have brought their COVID-19 response plan into line with current orders from the Governor. The Marion Township Board of Trustees adopted their COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan in late May, as required by an Executive Order from Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Since then, more recent orders have updated requirements on face coverings.

At Thursday night’s meeting of the Board, officials discussed the merits of updating their policy to match the latest order. The old policy called for staff members to avoid prolonged contact with less than 6 feet of separation unless face coverings were worn. Treasurer Duane Stokes noted that “prolonged contact” was any time longer than 15 minutes. The new policy is more specific, requiring masks be worn when employees can’t consistently maintain 6 feet of separation in the workplace, in shared spaces, during in-person meetings, and in restrooms and hallways. It asks that face shields be considered when inside 3 feet of space. The “prolonged” period of time has been removed. This change was championed by staff member and Board Recording Secretary Sandi Longstreet who admitted that while masks can be uncomfortable, wearing one when near others is the “prudent thing to do.”

here was some resistance from the Board, with Clerk Tammy Beal saying that she feels what they have been doing has been working. Trustee Greg Durbin also felt what they were doing was sufficient. With shields in place around the offices, Stokes said he wasn’t putting on mask when residents come to his counter, with the shield up. Longstreet said she felt this was more for staff, than residents, most of whom when they come to the hall, are wearing masks. She said with signs up requiring them, it sends a mixed message when they come in and see people not wearing them. Supervisor Bob Hanvey suggested that they make the changes until the next order comes up that says they don’t have to, and then come up with a new order.

The Board voted unanimously to make the change.