Back to school means back to masks for Lansing students

Published: Aug. 10, 2021 at 10:34 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Lansing students won’t just be strapping on their backpacks this fall, they’ll be strapping on their face masks too. Mid-Michigan’s largest school district announced a new mask mandate Tuesday.

It’s just one of several districts making the move. 16-year-old Raeghan Ryan said what many grade school students are thinking as various school districts across the area are asking students to strap the masks back on, whether they’re vaccinated or not.

“Our parents were like, ‘Oh, if you get this vaccine then you won’t have to wear the mask.’ So, I feel like a lot of kids are wondering what is the vaccine for?” Raeghan told News 10. Dr. Farhan Bhatti explained; While the vaccine does a great job of mitigating the strong symptoms of the delta variant of COVID-19, it doesn’t keep people from spreading it.

“The new strains of COVID, particularly the delta variant, don’t follow the same rules followed about a year and a half ago,” Bhatti said.

And he warned that the new strains could impact children more than the original form of the virus.

He said, “I want folks to know that in the last week, out of all the new cases of COVID across America, one out of every five were amongst children less than age 18.”

So what exactly are parents supposed to know as their kids enter the classroom on their first day of school? According to Dr. Bhatti, expect similarities to last year.

“If we don’t take common sense precautions, if we don’t put masks on everybody in the school building, adults and children, kids are going to bring this home to their families and kids are going to spread it back and forth to each other,” Bhatti said.

But Bhatti also stressed that it doesn’t have to be that way.

“That’s unnecessary,” he said. “That doesn’t need to happen if everybody just does their part and continues to follow the safety protocols until we’re able to provide the vaccine to younger and younger people. Which will hopefully be later this fall.”

Dr. Bhatti wants people to know the mask is highly effective in preventing the spread of the delta variant. And he’s encouraging anyone who can to get the vaccine.

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