MCC, MCE adopt back to school COVID-19 plans.

August 25, 2021

MCC, MCE adopted back to school COVID-19 plans.

MCC, MCE adopted back to school COVID-19 plans.

The boards of education of two of the county public school districts have recently adopted their back-to-school plans in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both Mason County Central and Mason County Eastern districts have approved their 2021-2022 return to learning plans. Ludington Area School District board of education is expected to adopt its plan at its next meeting; LASD’s board did review the plan during its previous meeting on Aug. 16. 

One of the biggest topics of contention in back to school plans is the wearing of masks. 

Mason County Central’s board of education, following much debate, adopted its “return to learn” plan Monday, Aug. 23. The plan requires the wearing of masks indoors for pre-kindergarten through sixth grade, along with staff and visitors in those areas, regardless of vaccination status. 

“Due to the inability to receive vaccinations for our under (age) 12 student population, universal indoor masking in grades pre-K through sixth grade will be required for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status,” the policy states. “Masks are highly recommended for students and staff in grades seven though 12 that have not been vaccinated; and encouraged for vaccinated staff and students.” 

The policy states the mask mandate will remain in effect until six weeks past the date the COVID-19 vaccine is authorized and available to persons ages 5 to 11. 

“The availability of the vaccination for 5-11 year olds is the clear line of demarcation for us,” MCC Superintendent Jeff Mount said when asked what statistical information led to the mask requirement. 

Mason County Eastern is taking a different approach. It is “strongly recommending masks but not mandating them,” according to Superintendent Paul Shoup. “We are following District Health Department No. 10 recommendations for this school year as of quarantines, desk spacing, cleaning, etc  with the exception of masks at this time,” Shoup said. “This, of course, may change as we will follow the COVID positive numbers and with consultation of the Department of Health,” Shoup said.

MCC’s policy, in addition to addressing vaccination availability, also states robust layering strategies will use the following primary factors when considering course of action: Level of community transmission of COVID-19; COVID-19 vaccination coverage in the community and among students, teachers and staff; COVID-19 outbreaks or increasing trends in the school or surrounding community; ages of children served in the school and risk associated with school, extracurricular, and social activities. 

“Vaccinations have proven to be the number one prevention strategy,” Mount said. “Mitigation Strategies for last school year proved their worth.  And MCC is using the same with the exception of the masks for 7-12 grades, because of the availability for those children to be vaccinated. Science is clear, masks can reduce the spread of germs, including COVID, and aside from vaccination, has been the most effective mitigation strategy in schools.”

Mount said keeping children and staff home when sick is also a good mitigation strategy to prevent further spread of any type of illness. Mount said the “delta variant” of COVID-19 has shown that it is likely more contagious among children, which causes further concern. 

Mount added that the school’s 2020-2021 policy of keeping elementary children in cohorts will be loosened. Last school year, children stuck with their classroom in all circumstances, such as recess and lunch. That is changing this year, Mount said. 

In a draft back to school plan presented to the Ludington Area School District board of education on Aug. 16, students there would not be required to wear masks. However, Superintendent Jason Kennedy stated that the policy proposal is subject to change before final approval. 

All three districts will require masks on buses, per federal mandates. They also will follow Michigan High School Athletic Association guidelines and protocols for athletes and athletic events. 

MCC and MCE will again offer online learning. 

MCE’s Shoup said students there must meet with Principal Mark Forner to go over expectations in order to go virtual. 

MCC’s Mount said MCC is offering online options again. “For grades 6-12 it is the Spartan Connect Online system for last year using the Edgenuity online program,” he said. “For K-5 it is using the GenNet online system with core classes being provided by a Michigan certified teacher, but not a MCC teacher like last year.”

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This story is copyrighted © 2021, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

As the services of Media Group 31, LLC are news services, the information posted within the sites are archivable for public record and historical posterity. For this reason it is the policy and practice of this company to not delete postings. It is the editor’s discretion to update or edit a story when/if new information becomes available. This may be done by editing the posted story or posting a new “follow-up” story. Media Group 31, LLC or any of its agents have the right to make any changes to this policy. Refer to Use Policy for more information.

 

 

We will offer a virtual option for students. Parents must meet with the Principal Dr. Mark Forner to go over the expectations in order to go virtual.

Please consider helping to fund local news. Mason County Press and Oceana County Press are available for free thanks to the generous support of our advertisers and individuals who support our service. Click on the PayPal donation button located on the top right of our website. 

This story is copyrighted © 2021, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

As the services of Media Group 31, LLC are news services, the information posted within the sites are archivable for public record and historical posterity. For this reason it is the policy and practice of this company to not delete postings. It is the editor’s discretion to update or edit a story when/if new information becomes available. This may be done by editing the posted story or posting a new “follow-up” story. Media Group 31, LLC or any of its agents have the right to make any changes to this policy. Refer to Use Policy for more information.

 

 

We will offer a virtual option for students. Parents must meet with the Principal Dr. Mark Forner to go over the expectations in order to go virtual.

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