Parents react to back to school plans

NOW: Parents react to back to school plans

BERRIEN COUNTY, MI. – At least three Southwest Michigan School districts have released their upcoming return to school plan. All of them stating masks and vaccinations are optional for students and staff.

“We can choose whether we wear a helmet or whether we jump out of an airplane or bungee jump off of a tall bridge and take a risk at plummeting to our deaths, so why can’t we take a risk knowing the risk,” Clark Curtis said.

Brandywine Community Schools, Edwardsburg Public Schools, and Coloma Community Schools are just some of the school districts in Berrien County that have released a return-to-school plan for the upcoming school year.

The guidelines in place for Brandywine and Coloma follow recommendations given by the Berrien County Health Department, which have advised local schools to implement layers of defense by having a flexible mitigation strategy that allows for modifications when needed.

“Schools are able to layer on multiple prevention strategies to prevent transmission within their school buildings and really just reduce the disruptions to in-person learning, said Gillian Conrad, the Communication Manager for Berrien County Health Department.

As local area schools in Berrien County work closely with the health department to finalize plans to ensure safety for all students and staff, Conrad said the rules in place are all fluid and can change at any moment depending on county numbers.

“Should those transmission rates increase come this fall or winter, the plans remain flexible enough to layer back on some of those other mitigation strategies. Like using masks, potentially remote learning, and other physical distancing measures where possible,” Conrad said.

The CDC is encouraging schools to promote vaccinations, they say masks should be worn indoors by unvaccinated people. One Berrien County High School student says he feels in-between with the school's guidelines but understands why people may be hesitant to get the vaccine.

“I personally, would recommend it, just cause we can all be safe and hopefully get past this phase,” Brennen said. 

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