GRAND RAPIDS – As students prepare to return to class at Grand Rapids public schools, the district is informing families of its Covid recommendations, after the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services released new guidelines before the school year.
In addition to encouraging vaccinations, the district also strongly recommends that all students and staff wear masks indoors, regardless of their immunization status. Officials also note that face covers do not need to be worn outside for recreation or outdoor learning activities.
Under the federal mandate, face coverings are mandatory on school buses.
The neighborhood will also practice hand washing, enhanced cleaning of classrooms and buildings to help stop the spread of the Covid.
Officials tell FOX 17 that they have also made improvements to the ventilation systems.
“We will continue to implement all other mitigated ventilation mitigation measures, which we have had portable ventilation units installed in areas after conducting an independent ventilation study,” said the spokesperson for GRPS, John Helmholdt.
When it comes to the sport, the district says it will continue to follow guidelines from the Michigan High School Athletic Association, which is aligned with recommendations issued by the state on Wednesday.
The new guidelines from Michigan health officials receive mixed reviews from parents, with many applauding them, saying they feel safer sending their children to school, while others say if masking becomes a warrant, they will opt for home schooling.
“We know there are parents who are very convinced on both sides of this, as there are staff members who feel it. We strongly encourage all of our staff to model this direction,” Helmholdt said.
As the start of the school year draws closer, GRPS says it will continue to monitor the data and work closely with the Kent County Department of Health to keep everyone safe.
“Our hope is to get back to normal and they are really focused on the academic, social, emotional and mental support that our students need for this social interaction that children yearn for,” Helmholdt said.
The new school year for GRPS will start on August 24 and will take place entirely in person. Officials say they no longer have the same flexibility to do virtual or blended learning that they did during the height of the pandemic.