School districts in St. Clair and Sanilac counties are taking steps to keep students healthy as the new school year approaches.
Students in both counties are starting the new school year completely face-to-face and without masks. But keeping students healthy has become a front-line topic for school districts, especially in relation to flu season, COVID-19, and the latest virus, monkeypox.
Marysville Public Schools will teach classes in person without masks. However, students, faculty and staff who wish to wear a mask are permitted. Superintendent Sean Wightman said the health of Marysville Public Schools students and staff has always been an important topic.
“During the pandemic, we were very concerned about the health and well-being of our district staff and students,” he said.
In 2021, the district will open a wellness clinic employing full-time nurses and social workers. A nurse patrols the building her five days a week. Nurses check the health of students and administer vaccinations.
“We are grateful to have nurses in our district,” Wightman said.
Marysville Public Schools is also diligent in its sanitization and disinfection efforts, especially in light of monkeypox. Wightman said the district has sanitizing specialists coming to buildings several times a week to keep surfaces clean.
Croswell-Lexington will continue to provide direct instruction this year. Although not required, students may wear masks while on campus. Superintendent Colette Moody said Cros-Lex tracks student vaccination rates and student health is closely monitored by the school district.
“We are in constant communication with the health department and will follow directions if anything happens,” Moody said.
Moody said COVID-19 has given the district an opportunity to reevaluate its cleaning and disinfection procedures. The district has hand sanitizer stations throughout the school. In addition, the district teaches juniors the importance of washing hands before eating and after using the restroom.
Cros-Lex does not have virtual learning options for primary and secondary schools. However, Moody said it would be an option for high school students in the district because it provides access to a wider range of courses.
East China School District has returned to full face-to-face instruction, with face masks available to students as an option. The district follows similar efforts to ensure the health of its students. Superintendent Susanna Cybulla said the district will continue to use the cleaning protocols it used during the peak of the pandemic.
“We will continue to do what we have been doing to keep our students safe and healthy,” she said.
In addition, East China will use an air purifier system acquired last year to bring as much fresh air into the school building as possible. Cybulla said East China will maintain measures to have a happy and healthy school year.
East China Virtual Learning Academy is also available for students.
Schools in the Port Huron area will not require masks for the 2022-23 school year. No further comment was provided to the Times-Herald.
Health department complicit
Washing hands and sanitizing surfaces are just two ways people stay healthy. Staying up to date on immunizations can help keep people healthy, says Liz King, health officer for the St. Clair County Health Department.
“Vaccination can save lives, is safe and effective, and protects others,” she said in an email.
King said parents and schools can keep students healthy in similar ways when it comes to vaccines. Parents can consult their doctor to ensure their child has the latest vaccines. In addition, the doctor will answer the questions and concerns of the parents.
Schools can promote recommended vaccine schedules. This also ensures that school requirements are met. Schools can also work with local health departments by asking questions, providing training to staff and obtaining reliable information.
“The Department of Health is also a great resource and their staff are very knowledgeable about all vaccines,” King said in an email. please give me.”
According to the Michigan Academy of Family Physicians, vaccination rates for children under 18 are declining statewide. St. Clair County mirrors this trend, with vaccination rates for children aged 19 months to 35 months dropping from her 52.4% in 2021 to 48.6% in 2022.
Vaccination coverage among children aged 13 to 17 declined slightly from 33.7% in 2021 to 33.2% in 2022.
“To date, St. Clair County ranks 62nd out of 84 counties for ages 19-35 months and 77th out of 84 counties for ages 13-17, according to 2022 data from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. It’s been done,” King said in an email.
Data were received from the Michigan Care Improvement Registry. Detroit is counted as a separate county in this data set.
As of August 22, Michigan has 143 confirmed or suspected monkeypox cases. Only one case has been confirmed in St. Clair County.
Contact McKenna Golat at [email protected] or (810) 292-0122.