ANN ARBOR — Sunday, Ann Arbor Public Schools sent out a Superintendent Health Advisory Update stating that "Masks are required while indoors in AAPS schools from January 9 - 20."
The district says they're making this decision as students return to class from winter break.
Ann Arbor Public School parent Andy Brosius spoke to 7 Action News about the update saying, "I was delighted to see it. My daughter has a serious heart condition, she’s had a handful of open heart surgeries and any disease, but particularly covid with its cardiac manifestations, is really dangerous for her."
Many parents we spoke to in Ann Arbor felt the same as Brosius, but not everyone.
One Ann Arbor parent told us, "I don’t think it should be required. If you feel more comfortable and people want to make it optional, than by all means, but I don’t think that anybody should be required to at this point."
We also posted on Facebook asking parents what they think and people posted comments such as, "We have vaccinated and masked for years. The result is minimal impact."
Differing opinions aside, respiratory illnesses have been a large concern in Michigan this winter with the trifecta of RSV, the flu, and covid-19 filling Children's Hospital Beds.
In Ann Arbor specifically illness in staff caused at least five schools to close down during the month of December.
Brosius showed us a letter they say they received the week before winter break. They read it saying; "The letter says that 20% or more of students in Madeline’s class were out sick, the letter suggested a number of measures to mitigate. Unfortunately none of those measures were masks."
Sunday's advisory advisory update says the goal of the mask mandate is to reduce the spread of respiratory illnesses and related absenteeism.
It also notes that the CDC sites masking as a critical public health tool effective in preventing the spread of all respiratory illnesses.
"To reduce that exposure to the couple minutes that they’re eating in the lunch room I think will make a huge difference," said Brosius. "I hope that the district continues to make choices based on data and public health interest."