GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan (AP) – The two largest counties in western Michigan ordered masks in schools through sixth grade on Friday, citing the risk of the delta variant of COVID-19 and young children who are not eligible for vaccines.
Orders came from Kent and Ottawa County Health Services.
“Many of our students are too young to be vaccinated, so our order is aimed at protecting them and slowing the transmission of the coronavirus in our schools and our community,” said Lisa Stefanovsky, Ottawa County health worker.
Vaccinated teachers and staff must always wear masks in schools, counties said.
“We can’t afford another disrupted school year, so we all need to do our part to make sure everyone stays healthy,” said Stefanovsky and Adam London, the Kent County health worker.
Kent and Ottawa join at least three counties with similar policies on school masks: Allegan, Kalamazoo and Genesee. Some school districts elsewhere are acting on their own.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has refused to order a statewide mask warrant in schools, although his medical director, Dr Joneigh Khaldun, said it would likely reduce the spread of COVID-19.
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