DETROIT – This is a trend we have seen across the country, and it is gaining momentum in Detroit Metropolitan Schools. More counties plan to lift orders requiring face masks in schools.
Ingham County cancels its mask requirements on February 19.
Now, Oakland County is preparing to do the same in its schools and daycare centers on February 28. Washtenaw did the same on this date as well.
Each district says that pandemic conditions have changed, allowing them to take this step. So far, we haven’t heard of any changes in Wayne County.
“We are still in a pandemic; it just is what it is,” said Kathleen Lucas.
Lucas has two children in the Hudsonville Public School District outside of Grand Rapids. His family is vaccinated and his children wear masks at school in a neighborhood that does not need them, and covid still ran in his family.
“On the third day back from Christmas vacation, my 7-year-old was exposed by a classmate who wasn’t wearing a mask, and COVID went through our entire family,” Lucas said. “Hopefully all is well, but I have lasting effects as it’s been about a month now, so we’ll see if those subside.”
Alan Pike, whose 8-year-old daughter goes to Romeo School District in Macomb Countyagain, no mask is required, and he’s ok with that.
“When you’re stuck behind the same mask all day, I worry about rebreathing bacteria and whatever is in that mask,” Pike said. “I don’t think it’s healthy for kids.”
Health departments often comparing information and data points are moving toward removing mask mandates from schools. Today (February 11), Oakland County announced that school mask mandates would be scrapped on February 28, saying it was all about numbers and data.
In Oakland County, with more than 900,000 vaccinations or 75% of the eligible population, or at a more nuanced point, of the 200,000 school-age children ages 5-19 eligible for the vaccine, 120,000 or 55% are vaccinated. The county health department says the numbers are pointing in the right direction.
“Looking at the data, we believe we’ve reached a point where we’ve seen a significant drop in cases and hospitalizations,” Oakland County spokesman William Mullan said.
Schools in Ingham County are following suit, with nearly 74% of the eligible population vaxxed, including 40% of 5 to 11 year olds and about 62% of 12 to 15 year olds, county health official Linda Vail said, unlike the wild variant up to the lambda in which masks were worn to protect others from you, she says with the now dominant omicron variant, the proper mask, the KN95 offers protection to the wearer of the mask.
“We have moved to wearing higher quality masks,” said Linda Vail, Ingham County Health Officer. “These masks, chosen by any parent, will protect the individual in the school environment from infection instead of just protecting the source from essentially exposing others. So we have many more choices available.
Washtenaw County also announced Friday (Feb. 11) that on Feb. 28, the mask mandate will go away. In Macomb County, there has never been a mask mandate; however, many ISD districts have required masks.
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