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State's chief medical executive: "There is no question that masks work."

During an interview with 13 ON YOUR SIDE, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun emphasized the recommendation for mask requirements in school. There is no statewide mandate.
Credit: State of Michigan
Dr. Joneigh Khaldun at a press briefing on Monday, May 18, 2020.

MICHIGAN, USA — Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state's chief medical executive, said "there is no question masks work to prevent the spread of the Delta Variant."

13 ON YOUR SIDE virtually sat down with Dr. Khaldun, where she spoke about mask requirements and recommendations in schools. 

"We have put out very clear and strong guidance from MDHHS about what we need our schools to do," said Khaldun, "The schools know how to do this, we have more than 135 school districts that actually do have mask mandates in place."

The state has not mandated mask-wearing in schools across the board. Rather, it recommends schools mandate them. So, the responsibility falls onto the local level. 

RELATED: School mask mandate discussion lasts more than six hours in Kent Co.

Some school districts have made their decisions, while Kent, Ottawa, Allegan, and Kalamazoo Counties on the West side of the state, have mandated them through the health departments. 

"Local health officers do, by the public health code, have to have certain experience and training to be in their positions," said Khaldun, "And so, they are very qualified. They understand public health. They understand disease outbreaks. These rules have actually been in place for some time, and quite frankly for schools and other places where outbreaks of other viruses and diseases, our public health departments have been fighting those for for decades. So, it's actually nothing that is new. And I certainly would want someone with public health expertise to be making those decisions for my family and my community."

This week, protests in counties with mask mandates took place. In Kent County, hundreds of people packed a work session held by the Board of Commissioners. The meeting was moved to a ballroom at the DeVos Place to accommodate the crowd. 

RELATED: Tempers flare at Kent Co. Commissioners meeting on mask mandate in schools

"I'm a parent as well, I have three children," said Khaldun, "And I certainly understand how everyone is just frustrated and tired of this pandemic. But the good thing is we actually know the tools that we have in our toolbox to prevent the spread of COVID-19. And quite frankly, to end the pandemic as quickly as possible."

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RELATED VIDEO: Tempers flare at Kent Co. Commissioners meeting on mask mandate in schools