Monday, August 30, 2021

Masks on the agenda as students return to school in Michigan, a pandemic update

Today is the first day of school in Michigan; this includes me, as I'm returning to the classroom for the first time in nearly a year-and-a-half. I'm anxious about this, so I couldn't resist watching WXYZ report Parents prepare for first day of school Monday as delta variant spreads in Michigan.

The first day of school for students across southeast Michigan is on Monday, and tens of thousands of kids are returning to the classroom for in-person learning.
I'm glad to see that the parents in Southfield are both eager to have their children return to the classroom and willing to comply with a mask mandate. I hope my students feel this way about both returning to in-person learning and wearing masks.

Not all schools in southeast Michigan have mandated masks, as WXYZ reports in Washtenaw County now considering mask mandate for schools.

I'm not surprised by the mixed reaction to masks in Manchester. It's the nearest town in Washtenaw County to the Irish Hills, where I lived for seven years, so I'm quite familiar with the area. While Washtenaw County had the highest percentage vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris of any county in Michigan, Manchester Township is quite conservative and voted for Trump. A lot of people there would not support a mask mandate.

The situation is even worse in the rest of the state, as ABC 13 in Grand Rapids reports 'It’s a constant threat of violence': Health officials say they feel unsafe amid intimidation, threats.

With public hearings in Kent and Ottawa counties lasting for hours over the use of masks in schools, public health officials say the debate has gotten out of hand.
I wish I could say I was surprised by the mask opponents' vehemence, but I'm not. Just the same, yikes!

I close with WXYZ's Dr. Partha Nandi answers your Facebook questions as kids go back to school for some good advice.

Our Chief Health Editor Dr. Partha Nandi took your heatlh questions as kids go back to school on Monday.
I'm glad Dr. Nandi explained that the expert advice on masks, vaccines, and other public health measures changes as we learn more about the disease. Here's to hoping people get on board with it so we can end the pandemic.

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