GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Face coverings have become the center of political discourse. But on some school grounds, they’re not up for debate.
“Students and staff should wear masks,” said Mike Schibler, superintendent of Rockford Public Schools. “Masks do reduce the potential of somebody contracting COVID; why would we not continue that practice?”
Following guidance from the Kent County Health Department, Rockford Public Schools leaders are requiring everyone inside all school buildings to wear masks through the end of the school year. Plans are expected to change in the fall, when officials said masks won’t be required.
“We will be establishing protocol that will give parents and staff a choice,” Schibler said.
Grand Rapids Public Schools officials said they’re offering the same choice.
The district announced last week they will require masks through at least the first trimester next fall. It’s a decision medical experts said is highly beneficial for kids who aren’t yet eligible to get the vaccine.
“Knowing that the rollout and getting the children the vaccine will take some time as well, I know that I am personally preparing my family and my patients, who are of those younger age groups, that masks will likely be part of the fall semester and potentially semesters beyond then,” said Dr. Rosemary Olivero, an infectious disease specialist at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.
Although some may be uncomfortable or tired of masking up, educators said they are proven to be effective, and thus, will continue following the science
“We’re going to follow the health professionals’ directives or recommendations,” said Schibler.