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Downstate judge rejects challenge to masks, testing for high school athletes

From left, Westwood’s Megan Marta, Negaunee’s Morgan Carlson and the Patriots’ Ellie Miller battle for a rebound under the basket in a game played at the Westwood gym in Ishpeming on Feb. 19. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

DETROIT (AP) — A judge on Wednesday rejected a request to stop coronavirus testing of Michigan school athletes and other steps ordered by the state health department.

An injunction isn’t appropriate at this stage because a group called Let Them Play Michigan and its allies are unlikely to win the case, said Judge Michael Kelly of the Court of Claims.

The group argued that health department orders, especially quarantines and weekly virus testing for athletes ages 13 to 19, should have gone through a formal rule-making process.

But Kelly said state law “plainly gives” authority to the health director to issue emergency orders in response to a pandemic.

“Plaintiffs’ briefing has done no more than point out that plaintiffs disagree with certain provisions of the order. That disagreement, however, does not demonstrate an arbitrary or capricious decision,” the judge said.

Spring lacrosse and soccer players must wear masks at all times. Athletes in baseball, golf, softball, tennis and track must wear a mask when on the sideline but not when actively competing, according to the Michigan High School Athletic Association.

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