LANSING — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has issued updated recommendations for schools for the new school year.
The updated recommendations are designed to help prevent transmission of COVID-19 within school buildings, reduce disruptions to in-person learning and help protect vulnerable individuals and individuals who are not fully vaccinated.
Our students and staff need to be in schools as much as possible this year. — State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice
The MDHHS’ new guidance was updated to reflect the current recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on masking and prevention strategies to help schools operate more safely.
“We are committed to ensuring Michigan students and educators are safe in the classroom, including those who may not yet be vaccinated,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at the MDHHS, said. “MDHHS is issuing this guidance to help protect Michiganders of all ages. We continue to urge all eligible residents to get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible as it is our best defense against the virus and the way we are going to end this pandemic.”
State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice said the goal is to not have to go back to virtual learning.
“Our students and staff need to be in schools as much as possible this year,” he said. “Following the informed guidance from national and state health experts will help keep our students healthy and help maximize student learning.”
The key strategies recommended by the CDC include promoting vaccinations, consistent and correct mask usage, physical distancing of at least three feet, screening testing, improving ventilation, promoting hand washing and respiratory etiquette, staying home when sick and getting tested, contact tracing and quarantine, and cleaning and disinfecting.
The CDC also suggested consideration of the community transmission of COVID-19, vaccination coverage, use of the SARS-CoV-2 screening testing program, COVID-19 outbreaks and ages of children and the risk associated when determining mitigation strategies.