WHITEHALL, Mich. — Whitehall School District is now mandating masks for all students and staff starting Aug. 30, administration announced Thursday.
The decision comes as the seven-day transmission rate remains at high in Muskegon County.
Masks are required for preschool through 12th grade students and staff. They must be worn while indoors, during the regular school day.
School officials plan to lift the mandate when transmission levels hit low or moderate.
Administration says students and staff should adhere to the following to help keep transmission levels low:
- Stay home when sick
- Wear masks in indoor spaces
- Maintain 3’ distancing
- Implement frequent handwashing
- Improve ventilation and air exchange
Read the full statement from the district's superintendent, Dr. Jerry McDowell, below:
"After much consideration, I have chosen to follow the advice of the medical experts and err on the side of caution regarding masks in Whitehall District Schools. I am hopeful your family finds this as a sign that this district will do whatever it takes to keep our kids in school this year and to keep them safe. In the school setting, we share the responsibility of their safety. If you don't agree, my hope is that we agree to disagree peacefully. To steal a line from one of my new favorites, we are all in the same boat and if it keeps on rockin we will all end up overboard. (Zac Brown Band - Same Boat)
Please know that I have thought long and hard about this and recognize the views on both sides of the issue. It came down to one thing and one thing only .. if we can lower the risk for just one child or staff member and prevent just one hospitalization or death due to Covid, well then, we better do whatever it takes."
Masks will be provided to students who don't arrive wearing one. McDowell states that the mask mandate will help keep students where they want to be this school year — in the classroom.
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