FLINT, Mich. (AP) — A mandatory mask order in Genesee County schools will be lifted on Dec. 22, the health department said Monday.

The department strongly recommends that students still wear masks, but the policy will be up to school officials, said Dr. Pamela Hackert, the county medical director.

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Hackert said the county mask order was being dropped because of the availability of vaccines for kids ages 5-11.

“Six weeks gives people a couple weeks to talk to their doctors, get the vaccine and get the second dose,” she said.

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Genesee, which includes Flint, is the fifth-largest county in Michigan. Health departments in Kent and Ottawa counties, two large counties in western Michigan, are dropping school mask orders after the holidays.

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