Genesee County Health Department issues mask order for K-6 schools

Students, teachers in K-6 classes ordered to wear masks

Students wearing masks in school

The Genesee County Health Department issued a public health order requiring masks be worn by students and teachers in kindergarten through 6th grade.

Schools are ordered ensure that all persons, regardless of vaccination status, wear a facial mask while inside any enclosed building or structure of the institution. There are exemptions such as eating and drinking or a person with a medical exemption in writing from a doctor -- see the full list of exemptions here.

The order went into effect Thursday, Aug. 12. The health department said the order will be lifted eight weeks after a COVID-19 vaccine is available in our community for children 5 years of age or older.

This order is only for K-6 classes. The health department noted the concern is for unvaccinated children -- people 12 years and older are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.

Michigan does not have a mask mandate for schools but state health officials issued guidelines calling for all staff and students to wear masks while indoors. That’s in line with the CDC’s school guidelines. Many Michigan school districts and universities have decided to implement mask mandates for the fall semester.

Michigan has reported more than 9.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered as of Tuesday, with 64.3% of 16+ residents having received at least one dose while 56.1% of 16+ residents are considered fully vaccinated.

As of Aug. 10, just 37.8% of Michigan teens have received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.