Dr. Joneigh Khaldun: Optional school mask policies not consistent with CDC recommendations

As of Friday, Michigan has 910,500 confirmed cases of coronavirus

With the start of school around the corner, many districts have released their plans regarding mask policies.

DETROIT – With the start of school around the corner, many districts have released their plans regarding mask policies.

Some Metro Detroit school districts claim to be consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state guidelines, but don’t appear to be.

Related: Michigan releases COVID guidance for upcoming school year, urges universal masking

“While the state is is making recommendations and not mandates, the actual recommendation is that schools have universal masking and that means all students, all teachers, all staff wear masks in the school,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “That would actually be following the CDC recommendations.”

Khaldun, Michigan’s chief medical executive, said optional mask policies are not consistent with the guidelines of the CDC or the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

“If everyone in that school is not wearing a mask, then that is not following the CDC recommendation,” Khaldun said. “If one person has COVID and they’re not wearing a mask -- even though it’s really good for the other person to wear a mask -- it’s still easier for the virus to be transmitted.”

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Khaldun is also a mother to three school age children.

“My children certainly will be wearing masks when they go back to school. We’ve already talked about it, just to keep keep them safe, so I think that’s the right thing to do,” Khaldun said. “Of course, I’m concerned because I do have one child who’s too young to be vaccinated and I think wearing masks is how we’re going to keep our children safe, and in school in-person learning which is so important.”

So if masks are so critical to keeping students safe and schools open, why hasn’t the state mandated them?

“There’s so many things that go into government decisions. I know the Governor has a tough job, but again we are strongly recommending universal masking in our schools,” Khaldun said. “That’s the right thing to do.”

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You can watch Kimberly Gill weekdays anchoring Local 4 News at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. and streaming live at 10 p.m. on Local 4+. She's an award-winning journalist who finally called Detroit home in 2014. Kim has won Regional Emmy Awards, and was part of the team that won the National Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Newscast in 2022.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.