LL-H will not require masks, vaccinations

LAKE LINDEN — Lake Linden-Hubbell Public Schools will not require masks or COVID-19 vaccinations when school returns this fall, the district announced in a Facebook post last Friday.

However, some cleaning measures and additions such as live-streamed sports will continue.

Superintendent Brad Codere said Monday the decision was made due in part because of the low rates of COVID seen in the community. As of July 6, the seven-day average in Houghton County was 3.9 daily cases per million, while test positivity was at 0.5%. Both are below the state averages (16.7 daily cases per million and 2% positivity).

Parents had also wanted the district to clarify its position, including two at the district’s budget meeting, Codere said.

“We just figured we need to be on the same page,” he said. “And based on where things are right now, and based on these recommendations and where things are in our area, we feel if we were to start tomorrow, this is where we’d be.”

Masks will not be required for students or staff, though the district will respect the choice of those who wish to keep wearing them, the Facebook post said. Vaccinations will not be required for attending school or for participating in sports or other after-hours schools activities. Those who participate in sports or have not been vaccinated will not be required to be tested.

The district will continue many of its cleaning practices, and will continue to make hand sanitizer available. It will also continue outdoors classes when feasible, and make livestreaming available for many sporting events for those who can’t attend. The district will also continue its policy of staying home sick until people are 24 hours past their symptoms.

In June, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services recommended, but did not mandate, mask-wearing and social distancing for schools. That advice may have been geared more towards students that are enrolled in summer school, Codere said.

In new guidance issued Friday, the CDC said vaccinated students and teachers do not need to wear masks in school. It made no recommendation on vaccination requirements, deferring to state and local decisionmakers.

Codere said the district will revisit the issue if the COVID situation changes. Superintendents have been meeting with the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department.

If there are further outbreaks, actions will likely be localized to individual districts rather than an ISD-wide shutdown of in-person learning, Codere said. As of this week, 50.4% of Houghton County residents 12 and older have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Those numbers will only continue to grow, Codere said.

“Honestly, that gives the virus less places to go,” he said. “I think we’re going to be in a lot safer place than we were last year.”


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