The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Michigan Department of Education (MDE) are urging schools to use COVID-19 preventative measures upon returning from winter vacation.
The guidelines are intended to keep school buildings open and allow students and staff to return to school safely, the MDHHS said.
Children aged 5 and over can be vaccinated. Health officials are asking schools to encourage everyone who is eligible to receive the vaccine and booster dose and, if possible, to hold vaccination clinics.
“Our priority has remained keeping students safe,” MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel said. “Children aged 5 and over can now be vaccinated. In addition to vaccination, we strongly recommend wearing the universal mask for students, teachers and staff. We have the tools to keep Michiganders safe, and we must continue to use them. »
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using several preventative strategies to keep school buildings open and reduce disruption to in-person learning. The CDC and MDHHS recommend universal indoor masking for teachers, staff, students, and visitors, regardless of immunization status.
The MDHHS said the state is experiencing high levels of community transmission and masks have been shown to reduce transmission in school settings.
The state health department also recommends regular testing in schools to help identify those infected. Rapid antigen tests are available for K-12 schools through the MI Safe Schools testing program.
As health officials expect cases of omicron variants to rise in Michigan, schools are urged to revise their planned events. Large gatherings involving 100 or more people should be held using remote technology or postponed, MDHHS said.