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Wayne County, Mich. - The Wayne County Health Department has issued a new Public Health Advisory to all K-12 schools, public and private, to help protect students and staff from the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The advisory is not a mandate, but makes strong recommendations on COVID-19 health protections school districts should follow.

"With children 12 and younger not yet able to get vaccinated and the increased spread of the highly contagious delta variant, it is critical that everyone does their part to ensure students can safely return to in-person classrooms this fall," said Melita Jordan, director of the Wayne County Department of Health, Human & Veterans Services. "These guidelines provide common-sense advice for school districts to follow that will help protect both students and staff."

Consistent with recent guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Wayne County Health Department strongly recommends all K-12 schools implement multi-prong prevention and mitigation protocols that include the following:

Consistent and Proper Mask Use - This strategy includes universal face mask wearing for students, staff, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status.

Social Distancing - This strategy recommends physical distancing of at least three (3) feet between individuals.

Ventilation - A proper ventilation strategy helps reduce virus particles in the air and can reduce transmission risk.

Promote COVID-19 Vaccination - National data shows that more than 90 percent of the new COVID-19 cases are among unvaccinated or not yet fully vaccinated persons. All staff and students 12 years and older should get vaccinated to protect themselves and others from illness.

Symptom monitoring, getting tested and staying home when sick - School mitigation plans should require staff and students (regardless of vaccination status) to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms including fever (temperature of 100.4 Fahrenheit or above), new cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, or onset of chills and muscle aches. When an individual is experiencing symptoms, they should get tested for COVID-19, and if they test positive do not report to school and follow self-quarantine guidelines.

While today's advisory is a strong recommendation, the Wayne County Public Health Department continues to closely monitor COVID-19 data points, and it will issue further guidance for school settings, if warranted.

The Wayne County Health Department continues to provide no-cost COVID-19 vaccinations to all residents aged 12 and older at community clinics throughout the county. Residents can call 1-866-610-3885 to schedule a vaccine appointment. Walk-in vaccinations are also available. More information about vaccine opportunities can be found at