Many states and school districts have been debating on how best to return to school.
The State Board of Education has said they will leave it up to local authorities. Gov. Whitmer’s office has also said that so far, she will leave the decision to mask up to counties and school districts.
Oakland County just announced that they will require masks in school effective yesterday. The county released on their Twitter account, “News Release: Oakland County issues Emergency Health Order Requiring Masks in Education Setting.”
They further clarified, “@PublicHealthOC issued an emergency health order today requiring masks in daycares and elementary, middle, high, and vocational schools regardless on vaccination status to prevent the spread of #COVID19.”
The county released a statement explaining their decision, “Our top priority is keeping students in school for in-person learning. Masking is one of the best defenses against increased transmission of COVID and higher hospitalization rates among kids,” Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter said. “This order allows teachers to get back to educating our students and focusing on their success.”
In order to keep kids as safe as possible, they issued Emergency Health Order 2021-1. The county health officer made the decision and has the authority to do so after looking at both local and federal numbers.
The Oakland County Health Division said it using guidelines set by the Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) which they feel best ensures the safety of children and staff. The AAP recommends masks for all kids above the age of 2, “The recommendation for universal masking of all children older than 2 years is one of multiple measures to reduce transmission in the school setting. Currently, children under age 12 do not have the option to be vaccinated, vaccination rates remain low in 12-18 year-olds, some members of the school community cannot be vaccinated due to underlying medical and immune system conditions,” says MIAAP Past President and Pediatrician, Dr. Sharon Swindell.”
The statement also highlights the effectiveness of masks in stopping the spread of Covid-19, “Masks help reduce the transmission of COVID-19 by reducing the number of respiratory droplets containing the virus that may emanate from an infected individual who is asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic. Studies of COVID-19 incidence in school districts during the 2020-2021 school year show that proper masking is the most effective mitigation strategy to prevent secondary transmission in schools.”
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