MDHHS urging schools to reinforce COVID-19 protocols as students prepare to reenter classrooms

Posted at 12:37 PM, Dec 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-30 18:18:41-05

LANSING, MI (WXYZ) — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Michigan Department of Education (MDE) sent letters to Michigan superintendents encouraging them to reinforce COVID-19 protocols as students prepare to reenter the classroom in 2022.

MDHHS says the guidance is intended to keep school buildings open without spreading variants of COVID-19.

“Our priority has remained keeping students safe,” MDHHS director Elizabeth Hertel said. “Children ages 5 and older now can get vaccinated. In addition to vaccination, we strongly recommend universal masking for students, teachers, and staff. We have the tools to keep Michiganders safe, and we must continue to use them.”

The CDC and MDHHS are strongly recommending universal indoor masking policies for teachers, staff, students, and visitors (age 2 and older), regardless of vaccination status.

MDHHS also recommends regular testing in schools.

To support schools that incorporate COVID-19 testing into their safer school prevention plans, MDHHS is offering rapid antigen testing to K-12 schools.

To take advantage of this program, schools and school districts must apply.

Schools can also participate in the MI Backpack Program, which offers free at-home COVID-19 tests to students, their families, teachers, and school staff. School districts interested in this program can apply here.

MDHHS is also asking schools to reconsider indoor activities where the ability to maintain social distancing between people who live in different households cannot be maintained.

In the meantime, MDHHS is urging all districts to encourage parents and families to get vaccinated.