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Masks in schools? Check to see what schools in mid-Michigan are requiring them

News 10 is gathering information on what schools in mid-Michigan are doing to ensure a safe return to learning.
In late July Gov. Abbott signed an executive order banning governmental entities, including...
In late July Gov. Abbott signed an executive order banning governmental entities, including public schools, from implementing their own mask mandates.(KCBD)
Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 5:30 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 2, 2021 at 7:34 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Students will return to the classroom in just a few weeks. Districts are focusing on their mask policies and are left to decide for themselves the policy that’s right for their kids -- but not all schools are coming to the same conclusions.

News Ten is gathering information on what schools in mid-Michigan are doing to ensure a safe return to learning.

“At this point, superintendents and school boards have the authority to make decisions in their schools with those very strong recommendations kind of being in front of them” Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail said.

Vail speaks about the tough decisions school districts are facing as the new year approaches. With all the conflicting mask guidance and mandates coming out for mid-Michigan schools, parents and students are asking lots of questions.

“The bottom line is it can be disruptive to learning because you have outbreaks in schools and then we’re talking about entire classrooms or entire buildings needing to be closed for a period of time to stop a transmission cycle,” Vail said.

The Ingham County Health Department is strongly encouraging schools to follow the CDC guidance on masks to prevent COVID-19 from spreading rapidly. Vail says taking this approach to protect students and staff is not unique to COVID-19 -- it’s no different than treating any other infectious disease in schools, such as pertussis or measles.

“It’s not new that we take those actions with school districts to prevent the spread of communicable diseases,” Vail said. “It will need to continue with this particular communicable disease so the mask could potentially mitigate the need to exclude children from school as well.”

Here are the schools News 10 knows so far that are NOT requiring masks:

  • Charlotte
  • Ionia
  • Webberville

Here are the schools News 10 knows so far that WILL require masks:

  • DeWitt
  • Eaton Rapids
  • Grand Ledge
  • Holt
  • Jackson (Through Sept.)
  • Lansing (Plus vaccinations or daily testing for teachers)
  • Leslie (Through Sept.)
  • Mason
  • Okemos

Vail says the choice to mask up is the wise decision, even if it’s not required at your school because of the domino effect that could happen later on.

“To minimize the impact not only of disease that could be spread among students and teachers, but also the impact of students not being able to be in the classroom or teachers not being able to be in the classroom because of cases in the district which then disrupts learning,” Vail said.

Some schools are still waiting to make a decision. Vail says she has meetings coming up with superintendents across Ingham County. Jackson County Schools are meeting this Friday, Aug. 13 with their local health department and will make decisions after hearing the latest recommendations.

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