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Kent and Ottawa Counties issue public health orders requiring face masks in elementary classrooms

Surgical mask on white background
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Kent and Ottawa County Pre- K to 6th-grade students returning to the classroom for the start of the new school year will be required to wear a face covering in educational settings.

County health departments across Michigan have been tracking the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases from the highly contagious delta variant. Several elevated their risk level from “substantial” to “high” this week.

“We believe that now is the time, considering that school starts next week, that we had to make this order," said Dr. Adam London, the Administrative Health Officer at the Kent County Health Department.

London explained that with an unvaccinated population (students under 12 years old who are ineligible for COVID-19 vaccines), it was time to act.

“It’s impossible to predict what number of kids might die or might be permanently damaged by COVID-19 if we did nothing, but whatever that number is, it’s too high. Especially when the cost of preventing it is something as simple as wearing a facial covering.”

The Kent County Health Department and Ottawa County Department of Public Health issued the order jointly, saying it reduces virus transmission in schools and the broader community and minimizes the interruption of in-person learning.