By April Morton

To mask or not, some school districts requiring mask wear for staff and students for the upcoming school year, but some are just recommending.

In less than a month schools in Southeast Michigan will return to classrooms. But with the Delta variant spreading and kids under 12 still not able to be vaccinated against COVID, how are districts handling the return.

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“The district is going to abide with the CDC recommendation for universal masking inside school buildings,” said Dr. Nikolai Vitti Superintendent for Detroit Public Schools Community District.

Dr. Vitti says although mask wear is a recommendation by the CDC, the district will require all students and staff whether vaccinated or not wear mask for the upcoming school year.

“Knowing that our communities in Detroit were disproportionately, negatively impacted at the height of COVID and there’s an increasing fear with the Delta variant and we also know that the vaccine rates are lower in the city,” Vitti said.

Vitti says these were all determining factors when making the decision to mandate mask, however not ever district in the area following suit.

“Recommending but not mandating the wearing of masks for the fall,” said Steven Matthews Superintendent for Novi Public School District.

Matthews says, although masks are not required in the building, they are still taking COVID safety precautions.

“If they are sick or exhibit any symptoms they should stay home and get a test,” Matthews said.

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He says that goes for students and staff. Matthews also says they will provide optional virtual learning for those not comfortable returning to in-person.

They will not require frequent COVID testing, but DPSCD will require weekly student and staff saliva COVID testing regardless of vaccine status.

“Just assures our families that our children are safe and our employees are safe,” Vitti said.

Vitti says right now 80% of his district employees are vaccinated.

Troy and Southfield school districts will also recommend mask wear inside school buildings and released the following.

“At this time, we have communicated that masks will be recommended but not required. We have also communicated that we have three weeks before school starts, and we are watching the data in Michigan, Oakland County and Troy very carefully and will adjust if necessary. “
-Richard M. Machesky Ed.D
Troy School District
“SPS will follow the CDC guidelines. Masks are strongly recommended in the buildings and required on the school buses.”
 -Jennifer Green, Ed.D. | Superintendent I Southfield Public Schools

We reached out to other districts is the area for comment on their return to school plan, and have not heard back

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April Morton