Oakland County lifts mask mandate for schools, day cares

Posted at 5:44 PM, Feb 28, 2022

PONTIAC, Mich. (WXYZ) — On Monday, county-wide mask mandates for schools and day cares ended in both Washtenaw and Oakland counties.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also announced Friday an easing of masking guidelines.

Kendra Bledsoe has six children in various Pontiac schools. She said she's disappointed Oakland County is lifting the requirement.

“I think they should continue to wear a mask until this is over," Bledsoe said. “I care about my kids. I care about they safety. I care about they health. I don’t want my kids getting sick.”

"Well, I plan on making sure, keeping stacked up on our masks. I continue to make sure that my kids continue to wear masks in school. I give them extra masks just in case," Bledsoe explained.

Bill Mullan, an Oakland County spokesman told 7 Action News, “It’s up to the schools to decide what they’re going to do. We only lifted the order, but we certainly still recommend wear a mask combined with the other preventative measures is such a good idea.”

He said the decision to the lift the county-wide mask mandate for schools came following a significant drop in new case numbers, test positivity rates declining for five weeks in a row and the relatively mild omicron variant being the dominant strain.

Mullan also said nearly 77% of the eligible population, ages 5 and older, have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Oakland County.

Ed Little, who retired from teaching during the pandemic after 36 and a half years, agrees a mask mandate should be a more localized decision.

“Just because there’s certain circumstances for different districts that would lead to if there’s more of a need for it," he said.

Shirley Hargrave, a clinician, believes lifting the mask order for schools now will lead to another spike.

“And depending on what the virus does, if it mutates into something else again, our numbers are going to just spike back into another spike," she said.

Hargrave said the soonest the order should be lifted is after flu season comes to an end.

If an increase does happen, Mullan said the transmission rate won’t be the only factor considered.

“We’ll also look at the environment we’re in, in terms of how many people are vaccinated, what is the variant that’s being transmitted... and then rely on our medical and public health experts to tell us the best course of action," Mullan explained.