Michigan parents are split on whether or not students should be required to get vaccinated or wear a mask this school year, according to a study done by the K-12 Alliance of Michigan, a Lansing-based advocacy group.
On Wednesday, Michigan’s Children, a Lansing-based nonprofit advocating for children and families, urged all of the state’s 891 school boards to “do their job and act to ensure school safety through effective mask-wearing by students and staff” to ensure a safe start to the 2021-22 school year.
The Branch Hillsdale St. Joseph Community Health Agency (BHSJ) will recommend universal masking for the upcoming K-12 school year, according to Health Officer Rebecca Burns.
Federal health officials on Tuesday urged Americans in areas of the country with the highest surges in COVID-19 infections to once again wear masks when they are in public, indoor settings — even if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Columnist Trish Zornio writes, “If we don’t act now, masks could become a long-term fashion accessory. In the past 14 days, the United States has seen tremendous growth in COVID-19 cases again. This has included a 36% increase in hospitalizations and a 26% increase in deaths. With the more transmissible delta variant, infection rates are likely to keep rising quickly. As expected, over 99% of deaths and 97% of hospitalizations were in unvaccinated people. If you’re vaccinated, it doesn’t affect you then, right? Wrong.”
Anna Gustafson writes, “But it is that absence that has been so vital this year; it is that emptiness that has paved the way for life. Do not mistake this silence for a lack of numbers: Those of us who have followed the COVID-19 health orders coming from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) fill our state. And, now, after more than a year of listening to the scientists, wearing our masks and social distancing, life is moving towards something almost jarringly familiar, towards something that is beginning to remind us of the lives we were living some 14 months ago.”
At the end of last week, COVID-19 statistics for St. Joseph County stood at 1,752 to date, including 28 cases resulting in death. The numbers, displayed on the Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency (BHSJ)’s coronavirus tracking webpage, mark a rapid increase since early October.
The question of whether masks work has been debated since the first documented COVID-19 cases arrived in the United States earlier this year. Watershed Voice looks at the mechanics of how a mask stands up to the spread of a virus.
State and local public health officials expressed concern Tuesday about how COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are beginning to rise in Michigan during a press briefing Wednesday afternoon. Hospitalizations have gone up 80% in recent weeks, officials warned.