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Students will be headed back to school in the coming weeks and parents still have many questions about what to expect as their kids return to in-person learning.

Students will be headed back to school in the coming weeks and parents still have many questions about what to expect as their kids return to in-person learning.

Between masks and vaccinations parents have a lot to prepare for this school year.

Safely returning to in-person instruction this fall is the priority for the Saginaw County Health Department. The agency is recommending sticking with CDC guidelines and adding modifications as needed for particular schools when the year begins.

“So, your school might have to change things so be flexible and know if a change happens it's because it is in order to protect your child,” said Delicia Pruitt, Medical Director with the Saginaw County Department of Public Health.

Vaccination is the leading prevention strategy along with cleaning, disinfection, and adequate ventilation layers of prevention to keep schools safe. Schools serving children under the age of 12 are ineligible for vaccination and should especially use layered prevention strategies.

“No one mitigation strategy is 100%. The vaccine isn't 100%. Mask wearing isn't 100%. Handwashing isn't 100%. None of them are 100%. There's no one fix to combatting COVID-19. We know it's a layered approach,” said Christina Harrington, health officer of the Saginaw County Department of Public Health.

Masks are recommended indoors for everyone in school not fully vaccinated. especially in crowded settings, when physical distancing of at least three feet can't be maintained. Students, teachers, and staff should stay home when showing signs of any infectious illness and referred to their healthcare provider.

“This is another year where the school will not be giving out perfect attendance awards. They really don't want your kid in the school if they're sick,” Pruitt said.

Despite a recent COVID-19 uptick, Michigan is still faring relatively well and overall transmission rates are relatively low. Experts are saying parents should prepare now.

“This is the time to start thinking about "If my kid is sick who is going to take care of my kid. You got six to eight weeks to start thinking about this. If your kid is sick, we really need for you to keep that kid home,” Harrington said.

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