CHARLOTTE, Mich. — To require masks in schools or not. That's been a hot topic as many districts get ready for the upcoming school year. Some have made a decision, other are waiting and still others, don't quite know what to do.
The first day for Charlotte Public Schools is Aug. 23, and at this time, masks are not mandated but are recommended. Superintendent Mandy Stewart said students will have to wear masks on the bus because there is a federal mandate.
"We're starting off right now, currently, we have not had a high rate of cases. So, we're going to keep looking at the data. If the data changes and we're risking our access to live instruction, we will review masks again because we're emphasizing that live instruction is important," Stewart said.
Over in Grand Ledge, the school board decided in a 5-2 vote Mondayto require masks indoors for all students, teachers, staff, and visitors regardless of vaccination status.
"We've heard from our community and our parents, especially that we want in-person instruction," said director of communications for Grand Ledge Public Schools, John Ellsworth. "So, we're starting the school year with a universal indoor masking policy so that we can have that consistent quality instruction happen with little disruption."
Now let's break down what other mid-Michigan schools are doing. Masks are currently not required but are recommended for Eaton Rapids Public Schools, Williamston, Webberville, Stockbridge, Leslie, and Dansville.
Masks are required, for Holt, Lansing, East Lansing, Waverly Community Schools, Haslett, and Okemos.
Grand Ledge returns to the classroom on Sept.7, where they expect to see 5,000 students K-12 in the buildings. There's also a virtual option that parents were able to sign up for and Ellsworth, said about 100 families chose that option.
Charlotte is not offering virtual learning at this time but is prepared to shift to virtual learning if needed. Stewart said they polled parents to find out if they were interested in a virtual option, but the interest was very low.
"To shift enough staff to make a virtual program happen for such a small amount of people would actually increase the number of students we have in class, and we don't want to do that," Stewart said. "We want to try to keep our numbers low in the classroom so we can distance more."
Click here for a comprehensive list of what mid-Michigan schools are doing.
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