LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Berrien County in southwestern Michigan on Sept. 1 ordered masking inside all schools, pointing to a rapid increase in COVID-19 transmission over the past month.
Once Washtenaw County follows suit, nine of 83 counties — including many with the largest populations — will require face coverings in schools. The office of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who has refrained from reinstating a statewide mandate that was in place last academic year, said mask policies do or will cover at least 57% of kids in traditional public schools.READ MORE: 15 Year Old Charged As Adult In Oxford High School Shooting
Berrien’s order applies to all educational settings, including colleges and child care centers. In their order, acting health officer Courtney Davis and medical director Rex Cabaltica cited a four-fold increase in coronavirus cases in August compared with July and noted only 35% of 12- to 19-year-olds are vaccinated.READ MORE: Oxford Shooting: Expert Response On Hostility, Gun Violence In Schools
“Our top priority is keeping students in school for in-person learning,” Davis said in a statement, adding that “masking is one of the best defenses against COVID-19 transmission.”
A spokeswoman for the Washtenaw County Health Department confirmed it will issue a mask order Thursday. Nine of 10 K-12 districts already have some type of requirements, but policies are more mixed among private schools, Susan Ringler Cerniglia said.MORE NEWS: Push For Gun-Control Bills Renewed After Oxford High School Shooting
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