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Elementary students in lower Michigan required to wear masks under tightened order

Ahead of flu season, the governor is requiring more Michigan students attending in-person classes to wear masks.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order Friday, strengthening the mask requirement for students in lower Michigan. 

Under the order, students in grade kindergarten and up in Regions 1-5 and 7 on the state's economic recovery map will be required to wear a face covering in classrooms. Under previous guidance from the state, masks were recommended but not required for students in grades K-5.

Chief Medical Executive and MDHHS Chief Deputy for Health Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said this order was implemented as the flu season is approaching. She said Michigan is in a "precarious moment" in the fight against COVID-19. 

Read the executive order here

Credit: State of Michigan
The Michigan Economic Recovery Council divided the state into eight regions in order to provide a framework on reopening the state after weeks of a stay at home order.

“This new mask requirement is so important to protect students and educators, and to keep our schools open. This year, it’s more important than ever that Michiganders across the state get their flu vaccine as soon as possible, mask up, and maintain at least six feet of physical distancing. Let’s all be smart and stay safe," said Khaldun in a statement. 

The executive order said cases of COVID-19 among school children "can pass the virus to their parents, leading to community spread." The state recently started reported outbreaks at educational institutions; that data can be found here. Most of the outbreaks to date have been at colleges and universities. 

The order goes into effect Monday, Oct. 5 at 12:01 a.m. 

Friday, Whitmer also signed an order to reopen movie theaters and other venues. Another order also expanded the size of outdoor gatherings in the state to 30 people per 1,000 square feet or 30% of capacity. 

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