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State officials urge school districts to require masks as students return to class

An empty classroom during the pandemic in Seoul, South Korea.
Chung Sung-Jun
Getty Images
An empty classroom during the pandemic in Seoul, South Korea.

State health and education officials are urging school districts to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 when students return from holiday break.

The recommendations, and they are just recommendations, are going out to school superintendents in a letter this week.

It says the most effective way to curb the transmission of COVID in schools is to layer multiple prevention strategies.

Key among them is mask use. The letter urges school officials to require universal masking in schools, regardless of vaccination status.

It also recommends regular testing in all school settings. The state offers schools rapid antigen testing, and the Michigan Backpack Program provides students and staff with free take-home COVID tests.

The letter also urges superintendents to avoid large school-sponsored gatherings.