Michigan urges schools to require masks to protect against COVID

Do not throw away these masks right away.

Students and teachers should continue to wear them when they return to school in the fall, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The ministry’s announcement on Friday came as a recommendation, not a requirement.

The goal is to protect people who are not fully vaccinated against COVID.

Fifty-six percent of Michiganders aged 12 and older have received at least the first dose of the vaccine, said Dr Joneigh Khaldun, medical director and chief deputy of the health agency. Young children are not yet eligible for vaccines.

“These vaccines are the reason virus transmission in Michigan is at its lowest for a year,” Khaldun said. “However, as the school environment brings together large groups of individuals who may not yet be vaccinated, the MDHHS is issuing these tips to help protect Michiganders of all ages.”

Some, however, say the mask recommendation is unreasonable. Immunization rates are rising and young children are the least likely to contract COVID-19 or have severe symptoms, said Beth DeShone, executive director of the Great Lakes Education Project, an advocacy group that supports improved health outcomes. schools and the choice of schools.

“We’ll have to see what happens by August” with the COVID cases, said Robert McCann, executive director of the K-12 Alliance of Michigan, a schools advocacy group that works closely with superintendents of the state. “We obviously try to make sure we’re doing what’s best for our kids. And individual parents are obviously encouraged to have their children wear masks.

“But when children are not asked to wear masks elsewhere, the days of school mandates are over.”

Across the country, some states recently relaxed mask mandates, but school districts in cities like Detroit, Indianapolis and New York are still planning to require them.

Although Friday’s guidelines were issued specifically for schools, they also apply to daycares and extracurricular providers, the agency said.

Its recommendations for schools include promoting immunization, implementing contact tracing, frequent cleaning, increasing ventilation, and maintaining cohort groups to reduce potential exposures.

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