WASHTENAW COUNTY — Health officials in Washtenaw County have issued an emergency order requiring masks to be worn at all K-12 schools.
Under the new order, beginning on Sept. 7, students and staff at all K-12 public, private, vocational and charter schools within the county will be required to wear a face mask while indoors to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Officials said that the order will remain active until COVID transmission levels within the county decrease to a “moderate” level or lower.
The mandate is also in effect for any affiliated extracurricular activities or athletics within the county.
The mandate will not apply to those actively eating or drinking, swimming or diving, anyone alone in a room, anyone under the age of 4 (however, supervised masking is recommended for children who are at least 2-years-old), anyone with developmental conditions attending school when the use of a mask would inhibit the person’s access to education, vaccinated staff working with children who are hard of hearing or students with developmental conditions who benefit from facial cues and anyone who has a medical reason confirmed in writing from a doctor.
The mask order issued by the county supersedes any mask policies, or lack thereof, instituted by individual school districts and institutions within the county, as only Ann Arbor Public Schools, Dexter Community Schools, Eastern Michigan University, the Lincoln Consolidated School District, Washtenaw Community College and the University of Michigan were mandating masks in the county.
The CDC and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services have recommended that all students and school staff wear face masks. However, no sweeping mask mandates have been at the federal or state level for K-12 students or college students.
Washtenaw joins 14 other counties across the state, including Wayne and Oakland, that have issued countywide mask mandates for K-12 schools for the 2021-22 school year.