COVID-19

Portage schools won’t require masks in the fall

The district plans to make masks optional for students despite state guidelines.

Students at Portage Public Schools will not be required to wear masks when they return to the classroom next fall. That’s despite state and federal guidelines strongly recommending that schools require masks for anyone who isn’t vaccinated.

What Happened: PPS made the mask announcement Monday via email and a post on the district’s Facebook page.

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“If the situation changes, we will adjust, as we have throughout the past year,” reads the post.

Context: Last month officials with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued guidance recommending schools continue to require masks. That preceded Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance saying schools should require all unvaccinated people to wear masks indoors.

So far only people age 12 and older are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Other area districts, including Kalamazoo Public Schools, have already announced they will require masks in the fall.

What They’re Saying: PPS Superintendent Mark Bielang told WWMT they made the decision with public health guidance in mind.

“We are aware of what the guidelines are. They are guidelines. They are not requirements,” he said. “And so we certainly want people to be as safe as possible, but don’t want to require something that is unnecessary.”

You can read more here.