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4:13 PM, Feb 27, 2020

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Parents in Grosse Pointe clash over district's decision not to mandate masks for kids in school

Posted at 5:31 AM, Aug 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-10 07:28:40-04

(WXYZ) — The debate over masks in schools is ongoing just weeks before kids are set to return in metro Detroit.

The CDC. is recommending universal masking for all K-12 schools, as kids under 12 years old can't be vaccinated yet.

This is a debate likely to happen in many school districts. Despite the vaccine being available for kids 12 and up, many still have not been vaccinated. With the delta variant spreading, the CDC recommends wearing masks indoors.

Grosse Pointe Schools say masks will not be required, and some parents are so upset they protested in costume.

"I dressed up as a fool because I think it's foolish that Grosse Pointe Schools is not following federal guidelines in keeping our kids safe at school," Stephen Warnick Jr., a parent, said.H

He dressed as a jester ahead of Monday night's school board meeting in the Grosse Pointe School District to protest

"They're basically wholesale rejecting CDC and the American Academy of Pediatric and going to send our kids to school in the fall as if covid wasn't happening," Sarah Eisenberg, another parent, added.

The CDC recommends wearing masks indoors, but when the 7,500 students return to in-person, ace-to-face learning in the fall, some parents support the district's "mask optional policy."

"The parents should be making the decision, nobody else. We take care of our children at home," Dona Desantis Reynolds said.

With dozens of passionate pleas, the subject dominated public comment at the Grosse Pointe Public Schools board meeting.

At the same time Michigan's Department of Health and Human Services announced back-to-school health recommendations that align with the CDC including wearing masks indoors in school buildings and on buses for all vaccinated and unvaccinated students and staff.

They are recommendations - not mandates

Grosse Pointe Superintendent Jon Dean tried to explain their decision, saying 85 percent of eligible staff members and students in the district are vaccinated

"Hopefully our COVID-19 numbers locally and across the state stay low. If they don't, we can always change our mitigation plan," he said.

The district also canceled it's virtual learning program citing lack of interest.

Monday wasn't the first time parents or teachers in the district have protested the district's actions.

More than 100 teachers stayed home from work in April, days after the district changed its COVID-19 contact tracing policy to reduce the number of students in quarantine.

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