Parents feeling mixed emotions after Genesee County updates mask mandate for all students

Parents say regardless of mask mandate, they want their seniors to have the best school year possible
Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 11:25 PM EDT
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GENESEE COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - (09/02/2021) - Starting next week, all students from Pre-K to 12th grade will have to mask up.

Students at Flushing High School have only been back to school for a few days, and with the delta variant spreading, some students took it upon themselves to mask up.

“The kids that have wanted to wear a mask, that was their own personal choice, and they were doing that. My daughter does prefer to wear one, and that’s her choice, but now, we got the text that it’s mandated,” Tammy Conn said.

A text message about the latest mask mandate from the Genesee County Health Department. The previously issued mandate was only for students in grades K-6, but now, all staff and students grades Pre-K through 12th grade will have to mask up starting Tuesday, September 7.

“I was really disappointed in the mask mandate. I was hopeful that the kids were going to be able to have their choice. They are seniors. They’re going to be adults here pretty soon. They need to be able to make that choice themselves,” Shannon Dockins said.

ABC12 reached out to the Genesee County Deputy Health Officer, Kayleigh Blaney. She says the order was expanded because of increasing cases in kids ages 12 through 18 and rising counts in the community in general.

On August 5th, Blaney says the case rate in the county was 57 weekly per 100,000. By August 31st, that number tripled.

Parents say mask or no mask, they just want the seniors to have the best school year as possible.

“I just hope that she can experience everything that has been ripped away from these kids the last two years: Homecoming, Prom, Graduation. My other daughter graduated in 2020. Graduation was awful, so let’s just hope that these kids can have a normal year,” Conn said.

It’s a tough spot for administrators, too. On Thursday, Flushing’s Superintendent, Matt Shanafelt wrote parents a letter, saying they’re doing everything they can to focus on what they can control to make sure the start of this year is a successful one.

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