Health department board meeting postponed

Thursday’s meeting of the board of the Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph County Health Agency never started after a small group of audience members refused to comply with COVID-19 safety requirements for entering the building.

Most were there to object to a new contract for Health Officer Rebecca Burns, who had instituted mask and quarantine orders for schools until the state legislature banned those mandates.

Before the meeting, Burns announced accommodations would be made for those who wanted to attend the public meeting, but could not wear a mask. Those accommodations included a screening at the front desk, a temperature check, the use of a face shield and staying socially distanced.

Chairman Kathy Pangle told the group if they did not comply, she would reschedule the meeting. Pangle shortly thereafter postponed the meeting.

Pangle subsequently asked Burns to contact the board attorney and look for another location to hold the board meeting at a location where there can be social distancing and COVID-19 protocols could be safely met. A notice will be posted when that is set.

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