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Kent County Health Department makes "highest recommendation possible" for schools and parents to heed mask guidance

Kent County Health Department
Kent County Health Department

In recent days, the Kent County Health Department has received thousands of calls and emails concerning students wearing face coverings in the classroom. While a mask mandate is not in effect, the department is making its position clear.

“These emails reflect the wide variety of perspectives people have on COVID-19, the value of facial coverings, the rights of parents, and the role of government.”

As a parent of school age children, Dr. Adam London says he appreciates the concerns. Kent County’s Administrative Health Officer also reviews the science.

“At this time, I am presenting the community with the highest recommendation possible that schools and the parents require adherence to the guidance of the CDC, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and the Kent County Health Department.”

Data indicates the use of face covering in classroom limits COVID transmission.

Michigan’s Revised School Code spells out the responsibility schools have providing for the safety and welfare of pupils while at school or a school sponsored activity. District leaders are tasks with making “scientifically informed decisions.” That’s also the sworn duty of Dr. London.

“I expect that the children under the age of 12, who are not yet eligible for vaccine, are protected through mask use and other proven prevention strategies.”

The concern is the highly contagious Delta variant and congregating unmasked and unvaccinated students. If its transmission accelerates in the classroom, it’s shown the capacity to spread quickly into other parts of the community and that could lead to yet another surge filling hospital beds.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.