SH Schools makes wearing of face masks optional – Herald Palladium

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With the state health department’s decision to ease face mask restrictions for K-12 school districts, South Haven Public Schools has made the decision to lift its requirements that students, staff and the general public wear face masks while in school buildings and at school functions.

The optional wearing of face masks began last week at South Haven Schools.

“During this entire pandemic we have listened to and followed the direction from health experts,” said Kevin Schooley, superintendent of South Haven Public Schools. “This decision is no different. The health experts have provided revised direction relative to masking in K-12 schools and we are following it.”

The Michigan health department, on Feb. 16th, revised its COVID-19 response plan to make mask wearing optional in public settings, including K-12 schools. Two days later, the Van Buren/Cass District Health Department adopted similar guidelines.

Although the state health department is relaxing its face mask recommendations for indoor settings, it still is recommending that all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, continue to practice universal masking in high-risk congregate settings, including long-term care facilities, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, jails and health-care facilities.

“Regardless of vaccination status, all individuals should also wear a mask during isolation and quarantine periods to stop further community spread of COVID-19,” health department officials stated in a news release. “The new guidelines do not release the requirement by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to wear a mask on all buses and other forms of public transportation.”

Van Buren/Cass health officials echoed those comments.

“COVID-19 vaccines, boosters, rapid testing, and mask-wearing are the best tools to prevent transmission and serious illness,” the regional health department stated in a news release. “Testing supplies are readily available across Van Buren and Cass Counties, with home delivery services being offered to all community members through Project ACT and the United States Government. KN95 masks can be found at multiple community organizations in both counties, including the Lawrence and Dowagiac locations of Van Buren/Cass District Health Department.” For more information about testing and other COVID-related concerns, visit the health district’s website at www.vbcassdhd.org.

As of Feb. 23, Van Buren County has recorded 15,484 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 235 deaths since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, while Cass County has had 9,178 confirmed cases and 123 deaths.

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