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Genesee Co. requiring K-6th graders to mask up at school

On Monday, Missouri's Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced he's asking a judge to halt some...
On Monday, Missouri's Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced he's asking a judge to halt some school districts from enforcing mask mandates. He wants a judge to enact Temporary Restraining Orders against several districts across the state.
Updated: Jul. 12, 2021 at 2:57 PM EDT
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Genesee County, Mich. (WNEM) - Genesee County is requiring students from kindergarten through sixth grade to wear a mask while inside school buildings. This includes youth camps, youth programs, childcare centers, tutoring centers, preschools, primary through secondary schools, vocational schools, colleges, and universities.

The order is effective immediately and remains in effect until eight weeks after a COVID-19 vaccine is available to children 5-years-old or older in Genesee County and community transmission is low or moderate as categorized by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention or until further notice by the Genesee County medical health officer.

“As our numbers are going back up, we are taking this opportunity to try and make sure that our numbers don’t go up in the school setting because it is a priority to have children learning in person,” said Dr. Pamela Hackert, medical health officer for the Genesee County Health Department. “Children 5 to 12 do not have that ability to be vaccinated and so we must protect all of the people in our community.”

Hackert acknowledged this is typically a low-risk age group when it comes to COVID-19.

“But low-risk does not equal no risk. There has been one death in a child in our county,” Hackert said.

She said children can also develop complications like multi-inflammatory syndrome or long COVID.

Children under the age of 5 will not have to wear a mask, but supervised masking is highly encouraged by the Genesee County Health Department.

The order does not apply to children hard of hearing or neurodivergent students who benefit from facial cues. Teachers or staff members working with children like this must be vaccinated or comply with masking directives.

The order comes as a result of the spread of the Delta variant.

“The Delta variant has changed dramatically the course of what we were expecting to have happen this summer and this fall,” Hackert said.