School Districts Debate Whether or Not to Require Face Masks

As the beginning of the school year nearest, districts are now having the discussion of what their COVID policies should be.

The big policy up for question is the requirement of facemasks for students.

Now, the state is giving the power to school districts themselves to make the decision.

After a year of masks in school, Kingsley Superintendent Dr. Keith Smith says he’s looking forward to easing COVID protocols.

“This summer when you’re looking at the positivity rates and how things are going-if we were to open tomorrow we would open up as masks optional, that would be personal choice to be able to do,” said Dr. Smith. 

Smith says they are looking back at their contact tracing from last year along with local health department positivity rates.

He also says because the Grand Traverse County Health Department has one of the highest vaccination rates, they feel comfortable making that decision.

“You have to be flexible enough to adapt to the specifics in your school and so I’m very appreciative that folks are giving us the chance to be able to make the local decision that makes the most sense for our kids in our community,” says Dr. Smith.

Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) Superintendent Dr. John VanWagoner states he’s also optimistic because of the county’s vaccination rates.

“I feel like we are in a better shape than a lot of places but yet there’s also personal choice in that,” said Dr. VanWagoner.  9ec31c7e A505 4b29 A8bd F526ea07c656

He says they are working closely with Munson and the Grand Traverse County Health Department, but are taking more time to discuss the outcomes.

“We know that there’s different parents that have different feelings and thoughts on that and how can we try and honor that but yet keep our environment as safe as possible,” Dr. VanWagoner said.

TCAPS Board is holding a meeting to talk about whether or not to have face masks for the year this Monday.