A number of Michigan schools are moving in different directions in an effort to combat COVID-19 during the 2021-2022 school year.
On Monday, Detroit Public School Community District (DPSCD) Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti put forth a mask mandate for students and staff.
This decision comes as the Delta variant is spreading across Michigan. As of now, a vaccine isn’t available for children under 12 years of age.
Vitti stated that the mandate is required for all students and staff members, regardless of vaccination status.
“Knowing that our communities in Detroit were disproportionately, negatively impacted at the height of COVID and there’s an increasing fear with the Delta variant and we also know that the vaccine rates are lower in the city,” Vitti said.
The superintendent also stated DPSCD will require saliva COVID-19 testing for students and staff members. Vitti wants to “assure that families, children and employees are safe during the upcoming school year.”
Currently, 80 percent of DPSCD employees are vaccinated.
Other schools districts are “recommending” that masks be worn by students and staff members, rather than enforcing a mask mandate.
Novi Public School District Superintendent Steven Matthews told WWJ that he’s “recommending but not mandating the wearing of masks for the fall.” He’s also encouraging proper COVID-19 safety protocols if someone is sick.
“If they are sick or exhibit any symptoms they should stay home and get a test,” Matthews stated.
Troy and Southfield school districts are also following suit with the “recommendation” stance. Both school districts spoke to WWJ about their decision for the upcoming school year.
“At this time, we have communicated that masks will be recommended but not required,” said Richard M. Machesky, superintendent of Troy School District.
“We have also communicated that we have three weeks before school starts, and we are watching the data in Michigan, Oakland County and Troy very carefully and will adjust if necessary, ” Machesky added.
“SPS will follow the CDC guidelines. Masks are strongly recommended in the buildings and required on the school buses,” Southfield Public Schools Superintendent Jennifer Green said.
On Monday, a number of parents and officials from Grosse Pointe spoke out after the Grosse Pointe Public School System stated that they aren’t requiring masks to be worn by student or staff members at all.
“To see a school district tasked with educating our children, tasked with teaching them about science, just go completely against the scientific method, that these experts are wrong,” Melissa Maye told local news outlet WDIV. “It’s telling them that education doesn’t really matter.”
“I think it’s negligent,” said social worker Sarah Eisenberg.
“They have a duty to protect our kids and they are very intelligent adults, they’ve seen all the outcomes we’ve seen over the past year. They know these things work. They know they’re safe,” Eisenberg stated.
Newsweek reached out to Dr. Nikolai Vitti for further comment but did not hear back in time for publication.