Health dept. not mandating masks in schools, decision up to each school district.

September 3, 2021

Health dept. not mandating masks in schools, decision up to each school district.

District Health Department No. 10, which covers Mason and Oceana counties, has issued a statement about mask mandates in schools. It states the health department will not be issuing a mandate for universal indoor masking in schools or childcare centers. 

“The health department continues to support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendations for universal indoor masking by all students, staff, teachers, and visitors of K-12 schools regardless of vaccination status,” a health department press release states. “Also recommended is at least 3-feet physical distance between students within the classrooms, along with screening testing, frequent hand washing, proper indoor ventilation, and respiratory etiquette such as cover coughs and sneezes.”

“Several local public health departments have issued mandates in their jurisdictions that require universal masking for students, staff, and visitors in K-12 schools. At this time, DHD#10 will not be issuing a mandate for universal indoor masking in K-12 schools or childcare settings within the 10-county jurisdiction that includes Crawford, Kalkaska, Lake, Manistee, Mason, Mecosta, Missaukee, Newaygo, Oceana, and Wexford counties. Each school system and childcare setting must determine the best course of action based on local data and case trends, as well as impacts to families and staff.”

“There are 45 different local public health departments throughout Michigan, and each one must evaluate the situation within the unique communities they serve to determine appropriate actions to take,” stated Kevin Hughes, DHD#10 health officer. “These decisions are not taken lightly and involve numerous stakeholders, including each jurisdictions’ governing entity, before a health officer makes the decision to issue any public health advisories or mandates. 

“Additionally, most local public health departments in Michigan do not have the authority to enforce mandates. Enforcement of public health orders and mandates involve multiple agencies and factors. These also vary by county and can result in unique situations that are part of the evaluation process. We understand that this may be frustrating to many, but it really does involve several key stakeholders outside of the health department for a mandate to successfully be enforced.”

“DHD#10 continues to provide guidance to schools within the 10-county jurisdiction through weekly conference calls, toolkits, and other resources to assist them during this challenging time. The community will be notified immediately if something changes, and mandates can successfully be enacted,” the press release states. 

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