School outbreaks already 8 times higher than last year

Schools without mask requirements are more likely to experience more and more severe outbreaks.

There have been eight times as many school-based outbreaks of COVID-19 in Michigan than there were this time last fall.

As of the latest outbreak report on Monday, 3,102 people have been infected with COVID-19 while in school since this school year began. There have been a total of 373 separate outbreaks.

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That’s a far cry from last year. By October 1, 2020, there were just 296 infections tied to schools in the state.

The primary reason for the spike? More students attending classes in person. Many schools – Kalamazoo Public Schools among them – opted to teach students remotely.

Masking requirements are also playing a large part in the rising rate of school infections. Last year, all students and staff were required to wear masks in school by statewide health department orders. There is no such general mask requirement this year, though some schools and counties have opted to implement their own.

Data suggests those mask mandates are working. A study released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that schools without mask requirements were 3.5 times more likely to have outbreaks than schools with mask rules.

[Bridge Michigan, WWMT]

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