Mask up. Students who attend elementary schools throughout Genesee County will have to wear a mask, according to a new mandate issued today by the Genesee County Health Department. All students in Kindergarten through sixth grade and staff members who work with those age groups will have to adhere to the order.

The Genesee County Health Department announced the mandate Thursday (8/12) afternoon and says it applies to all individuals regardless of their vaccination status.

Last month, Cars 108 spoke with a member of the Davison School District who stood firm, backing the board's decision to not require students throughout the district to wear masks. Today's order, issued by the Genesee County Health Department, trumps that decision.

“As our numbers are going back up, we’re taking this opportunity to try and make sure that our numbers don’t go up in school settings because it is a priority to have children learning in person,” Genesee County Medical Health Director Dr. Pamela Hackert told WJRT-TV.

The mandate issued by the Genesee County Health Department closely follows a recommendation made last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Given new evidence on the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant, CDC has updated the guidance for fully vaccinated people. CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place."

The FDA has not yet approved COVID-19 vaccinations for children aged 5-11. The Genesee County Health Department says the order will remain in effect for at least two months after the vaccine becomes available for kids in that age group.

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