Dearborn Schools to Lift Mask Mandate Feb. 23 – Press and Guide
Face masks will become optional for all students and staff at Dearborn Public Schools beginning Feb. 23 as students return from mid-winter vacation.
Under federal law, masks will still be required on all school buses.
Properly fitted masks are also still required for anyone returning from quarantine less than 10 days after exposure. Those unable or unwilling to wear a mask must complete the full 10-day home quarantine.
Any student or staff member who prefers to wear a face covering inside a school building or elsewhere on school grounds may continue to do so.
Throughout the pandemic, the District Crisis Team met regularly to discuss and plan the implementation of various mitigation strategies, to monitor ever-changing guidelines and requirements, and to carefully monitor the spread. potential of COVID 19 in schools.
“We have worked closely with the Wayne County Health Department throughout this pandemic, following their advice and recommendations. They have provided exceptional support and have truly been a partner over the past two years,” said Supt. Glenn Maleyko.
The Wayne County Health Department announced earlier this month that it plans to lift the mask requirement for schools in late February.
Maleyko told the Board of Education on Feb. 14 that the district would use the time before the end of the month to assess conditions, but would likely follow the county’s lead and lift the mask requirement.
School officials were surprised Wednesday when the Wayne County Health Department abruptly lifted its mask requirements effective immediately. The change in the county came after the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said earlier in the day that it no longer recommends face masks indoors, including in schools.
Dearborn Schools has required face masks inside school buildings since June 2020 to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The virus has hit Dearborn particularly hard. The city of 110,000 people has reported nearly 30,000 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. Some of the highest case rates of the pandemic were reported only a few weeks ago, although numbers have fallen precipitously since then.
Although no longer requiring masks, the district will continue to provide masks to those who want them, use other mitigation measures such as increased ventilation, help provide COVID testing, to promote vaccination, including hosting clinics, and of course, to encourage good hand washing and other personal hygiene practices. Dearborn Schools will also continue to closely monitor the number of COVID cases in schools and may temporarily reinstate a mask requirement for a particular class, school or district as a last resort.
“We understand that any decision regarding COVID will come with mixed opinions. We hope everyone will be patient and understanding with each other and with our staff as we adjust to this new change,” Maleyko said.
He added that everyone, including the district administration, hopes that the new relaxed masking recommendations from health officials are a real signal that the pandemic is finally subsiding, but he also noted a key line in the new guidelines for state masking:
“Masking recommendations may change as conditions change.”