Jackson Public Schools issues mask mandate

Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 6:58 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

JACKSON, Mich. (WILX) - “COVID-19 is affecting our school on a daily basis,” wrote Jackson Public Schools Superintendent Jeff Beal.

That was at the beginning of the announcement posted to social media Thursday afternoon: Jackson Public Schools will require masks for all staff and students regardless of vaccination status.

Beal laid out the reasoning in a lengthy post, going into detail about how and why the decision was made. In the end it came down to what was said in the introduction. That COVID-19 has, even in these first few days of classes, become a hindrance to learning.

With a district vaccination rate of only 10% for students, and given the ability of the delta variant to more easily infect young people, such a move was always a likely possibility. The FDA has yet to give it’s approval for vaccine use in children, though officials have communicated that they are running the necessary tests to do so. This leaves the young with less tools to combat the disease.

Instead they must rely on adults to do their part and, of course, masks.

“All staff, students, and visitors will be required to wear masks while in any JPS building or attending a JPS indoor sponsored event regardless of their vaccination status,” Beal wrote in the post. “Students who are involved in sports will also be required to wear masks when not engaging in physical activity.”

The issue is less that there have been many infections, and more that the necessary quarantines are pulling large amounts of students out of the classroom. For now, the mandate is only scheduled through the month of September. It goes into effect on Tuesday, Sept. 7.

“Make no mistake, wearing masks is our strongest defense in preventing large numbers of precautionary quarantines that lead to students missing school for extended periods of time,” Beal wrote.

The school said that they will continue to assess each positive case. All students and staff will be informed if they have been in close contact with a positive case and given the option to precautionary quarantine for 10 days.

Copyright 2021 WILX. All rights reserved.

Subscribe to our News 10 newsletter and receive the latest local news and weather straight to your email every morning.