AAPS: Masking protocol still in effect despite recent reversal by Health Department

A student raises their hand in a classroom at Tussahaw Elementary school on Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021, in McDonough, Ga. Schools have begun reopening in the U.S. with most states leaving it up to local schools to decide whether to require masks. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson) (Brynn Anderson, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Emergency orders in education settings by Washtenaw County Health Department will be suspended later this month but students attending Ann Arbor Public Schools will continue wearing masks for the time being.

Last week, the Health Department joined several others across Michigan in announcing that orders for K-12 schools, such as masking, quarantine and isolation, would end on Monday, Feb. 28.

Read: Washtenaw County lifting school COVID orders at end of February

A Friday email from AAPS Superintendent Jeanice K. Swift said that universal masking and other safety protocols remain in place until further notice.

“We will continue to hold the health and safety of our students and staff as our top priority. We are charged with the responsibility of supporting our students with healthy in-school learning environments each day and will take very seriously any proposed removal of a critical layer of COVID mitigation and protection for our students, staff and families,” said Swift’s email.

“The AAPS will maintain all existing health and safety protocols, including universal masking, for AAPS schools, programs, and offices until further notice.”

The Washtenaw County Health Department will update school guidance on Wednesday, Feb 23. AAPS will analyze the impact of the new guidance on district COVID protocols and update families, the email said.

Swift’s email noted that masks are still recommended by WCHD, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the CDC for school-aged children two years and older and school staff when in public indoor settings, regardless of their vaccination status.

Federal orders mandate masking on public transport, including school busses.

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Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.