LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Children across mid-Michigan are set to return to school, and today health officials issued new guidelines to keep educators and students safe.
The MDHHS is advising all school districts to enforce strict mask rules for students and staff, *regardless of vaccination status.
They also encourage consistent testing, social distancing and vaccinations.
This all comes a few weeks before most schools return, and as the state becomes one of the leaders in pediatric COVID cases.
Michigan now has the fifth most COVID-19 cases among children. That’s according to a report from the American academy of pediatrics.
Now, with the school bell just weeks away and no federal or statewide mask mandate yet in place the question becomes where do we go from here? And how do we keep kids safe?
Just more than 1 in 4 kids ages 12 to 15 in Michigan have received their COVID-19 shot.
That number is around 37% for all teens.
Sparrow health system President Alan Vierling says it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see why COVID-19 rates are up in children.
“Children are unvaccinated. That’s why it’s high. You don’t have to go any further than that,” said Vierling.
The rate in teens is half of the adult population.
Just another in the line of reasons why physicians are urging parents get shots for their kids.
“Vaccines have always been one of the most important public health measures that we give to people in our community so we hope that number will increase. We are definitely urging families to get the vaccine as quickly as possible, for 12 and above,” said Abeba Bherane, President-Elect of American Academy of Pediatrics.
The CDC reports the delta variant now accounts for 93% of cases in the country, and is the main reason cases in children today are 9 times as high as the final week of June.
Physicians are recommending all preventative measures for those who aren’t eligible for a shot.
While Michigan’s cumulative count is near the top, its children’s rate is 18th in cases per 100,000 people.
But with numbers still not where officials want, places like the Ingham county fair on Thursday are holding more vaccine events, giving a chance for everyone 12 and up to get their shot.
However, despite the risk of COVID transmission, the American academy of pediatrics is still supporting in-person schooling after depression and anxiety rates spiked in 2020.