MDHHS recommends all Michigan schools require masks to prevent spread of COVID-19

FILE - Surgical masks on a white surface stock photo. (Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is recommending that all schools require students and staff to wear masks.

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The department announced the recommendation Friday, noting that many students haven't been vaccinated yet and students younger than 12 are not yet eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Recent guidance from the CDC encourages wearing masks in areas with high risk of community transmission. However, MDHHS recommends all schools mandate masks regardless of the risk level.

MDHHS also recommends that students and teachers stay 6 feet apart. Staff who are not fully vaccinated should keep 6 feet of distance from other staff as well, MDHHS said.

More: COVID-19 in Michigan: Cases, vaccine rates, and virus transmission risk

"We are committed to ensuring Michigan students and educators are safe in the classroom, including those who may not yet be vaccinated," said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. "MDHHS is issuing this guidance to help protect Michiganders of all ages. We continue to urge all eligible residents to get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible as it is our best defense against the virus and the way we are going to end this pandemic."

MDHHS recommends that all schools adopt policies to:

  • Promote vaccination for eligible students, staff and families.
  • Require universal masking for students, staff and visitors regardless of community transmission rate or vaccination status.
  • Implement layered prevention measures.