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Northern Michigan health departments to end K-12 mask mandates

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A 67% decrease in statewide pandemic risk factors is leading northern Michigan health departments to drop school mask mandates.

The Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department and Health Department of Northwest Michigan are both lifting mask mandates for K-12 schools.

It will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, February 17, 2022.

According to press releases from the health departments, pandemic risk factors decreased by 56% in the Grand Traverse region in the last three weeks.

A decline in the number of COVID-19 cases across the region and vaccine availability for children above age five, played a factor in the decision to end the mask mandates.

Benzie-Leelanau District Health DepartmentHealth Department of Northwest Michigan
5-11 year-olds36% 23%
12-15 year-olds55% 46%

Table: School age children vaccination rates per Health Department

As a result of the announcement, Traverse City Area Public Schools will no longer require masks in buildings starting Friday, February 18.

This is following a January decision by the TCAPS Board of Education to abide by the masking order from the Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department.

Masks will still be required on school buses due to the federal transportation mandate. That mandate is currently expected to expire March 18, 2022.

Kendra Carr joined IPR as the All Things Considered host in 2019. She previously worked at WMOM in Ludington as the News Director. In 2017, WMOM received the Michigan Association of Broadcasters "Station of the Year" award.