Michigan updates COVID-19 school guidance as students prepare to return to classrooms

The start of the new school year is just a few weeks away and the state of Michigan is issuing updated guidance to prevent COVID-19 for parents, students, and teachers as the state hopes to keep students in class as much as possible.

On Wednesday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) issued updated recommendations for schools to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within buildings and also to reduce disruptions to in-person learning.

The guidance is not a requirement or a health order, meaning schools are not forced to follow the recommendations.

The guidance is in line with CDC recommendations: everyone eligible should get vaccinated, everyone should wear a mask while indoors, and schools should continue social distancing, among other guidance.

"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."

The guidance is all about preventing transmission in school buildings are all based on CDC guidance.

  1. Promote vaccinations against COVID-19 for all eligible
  2. Consistent and correct mask use for everyone - regardless of vaccination status
  3. Physical distancing
  4. Screening testing to identify infected individuals
  5. Ventilation
  6. Handwashing and respiratory etiquette
  7. Staying home when sick
  8. Contract tracing
  9. Cleaning and disinfecting once a day

"Our students and staff need to be in schools as much as possible this year," said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. "Following the informed guidance from national and state health experts will help keep our students and staff healthy and help maximize student learning."