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Michigan Department of Health of Human Services strongly recommends universal masking in schools among other precautions

Wearing a mask and face shield, teacher Elizabeth DeSantis helps a first-grader during reading class in September at Stark Elementary School in Stamford, Conn.
Wearing a mask and face shield, teacher Elizabeth DeSantis helps a first-grader during reading class in September at Stark Elementary School in Stamford, Conn.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services now strongly recommends universal masking in schools to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but the department stopped short of mandating that.

The new state guidelines urge school districts to promote vaccination for eligible people, require universal masking regardless of vaccination status, and implement other layered prevention measures.

This comes as the Delta variant is causing an explosion of COVID cases in parts of the country, and as case numbers steadily increase in Michigan.

Local health departments are also getting involved. The Kent County Health Department says it’s making “the highest possible recommendation” to adopt universal masking, especially for young children who aren’t yet eligible vaccination. But it didn’t issue a mandate.

Genesee County did. That county’s health department says masks will be mandatory for all students in kindergarten through sixth grade, until eight weeks after they become eligible for vaccination.