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6 schools report new COVID-19 outbreaks two weeks after mask mandates ended

Posted at 8:29 PM, Mar 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-15 20:29:21-04

SOUTHGATE, Mich. (WXYZ) — We're now just past the two-week mark when a number of county health departments including Wayne, Oakland, and Washtenaw ended their mask mandate for schools.

In many schools, you'll see some kids wearing masks and some not. And while COVID cases are on the decline, some schools are still seeing outbreaks.

"We have let them take it off when he wants to, and it seems to help. So, he's not seeming so irritated by it because usually by the end of the day, when I pick him up, it's off. He's ready to go. He's, he's done with it,” says parent Angel Ramirez.

Ramirez is talking about her son wearing a mask at Allen Elementary School in Southgate. It's one of several Michigan schools where the state is reporting an outbreak of COVID cases.

At Emerson Middle School in Detroit, there are three cases. At Wilcox Elementary in Holt, there are five. On the west side of the state at Lincoln Elementary in South Haven, there are four cases of COVID. Same for Ann Arbor Christian in Whitmore Lake. At Paddock in Milan, there are six COVID cases and at Allen Elementary in Southgate, the state is reporting nine.

"They still do wear their masks, no matter if they're not supposed to wear them or not. You know, there's still the chances of them getting COVID no matter what," says grandparent David Rogers.

"Our school-aged cases are down about 90, more than 90% since the peak of the omicron surge," says Wayne County Medical Health Officer Dr. Avani Sheth.

Dr. Sheth says everyone can help keep COVID cases trending down if anyone who isn't feeling well stays home and gets tested, and if positive, follow isolation protocols.

"We're still very much living with COVID-19,” she says. “The cases are coming down, but there's still virus in the community and the vaccines, they're, they're very safe. They're very effective, especially against severe illness.

“Like, we do have a little bit of activity in the community, we also have a little bit of activity in our schools. So that's not surprising,” says Susan Ringler Cerniglia with the Washtenaw County Health Department.

Cerniglia says some school districts like Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti Public Schools are still requiring masks.

“No one can necessarily predict what's coming next. So, we have to be kind of ready to use those precautions when they make sense,” she says.

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