By Sara Powers

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan’s top doctor said Wednesday she had told Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the state health director that reinstituting a mask requirement in K-12 schools would likely lessen the spread of COVID-19, but she added there are other factors when considering the step.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive and chief deputy health director, reiterated that she is “concerned” about the coronavirus’ potential impact on schools as the delta variant takes hold. The state Department of Health and Human Services last week strongly recommended universal masking in schools regardless of vaccination status but stopped short of requiring it.

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“We do understand that there currently is a law that would allow us to be able to implement that mandate, but at this time the governor and the director have not made that determination,” she told reporters. When pressed, she said she had “recommended that if a mask mandate were in place and it were followed, it would likely reduce the spread of COVID-19 in schools.”

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On Tuesday, superintendents expressed frustration over having to decide about masks, a contentious issue in recent school board meetings. Many county health departments are recommending masks, but just one — Genesee — has mandated them countywide, specifically for K-6 students. teachers and staff.

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