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Schools sorting through new mask rules

young girl and boy with masks and backbacks on
Kelly Sikkena

Michigan’s mask mandate is lifted in most situations for people who are fully vaccinated. Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that last week. That was following new guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But there are still lots of questions to sort through.

School administrators are wondering what this will mean for in-person classes when some students are fully vaccinated and some are not. 

On Saturday, the CDC clarified its mask guidance, saying that K-12 schools should continue to require masks and physical distancing for the 2020-21 school year. The agency said it would update its guidance for schools "in the coming weeks."

“There is no solid way to prove vaccination status, so that’s going to be a question,” said Peter Spadafore of the Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators. “Masking is still probably going be required for many of our student populations as they’re not eligible for vaccination yet. We just saw vaccination eligibility open up to 12-year-olds and up, so I know we’re working with the state and local health departments to try and get as many of the 12- to 15-year-olds vaccinated.”

At the moment, there isn't a requirement for families sending kids to school to prove COVID vaccination status. That is required of other infectious diseases such as polio, measles, and diphtheria – unless families get a waiver.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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