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Face masks to be required at Burt Township School District

According to Burt Township Schools’ Superintendent Tony Barnes, students, faculty, staff, and visitors must have a mask on in school buildings.
Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 11:45 AM EDT
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GRAND MARIAS, Mich. (WLUC) - One of the smallest schools in the U.P. will be among the first to require masks for students for the upcoming school year.

The Burt Township School District will mandate that anyone inside school buildings wear masks.

“We don’t want to be in masks. We are doing this because it is a public health crisis,” said Tony Barnes, Burt Township School District Superintendent and Principal. “We don’t want to overload the hospital or have to shut the school down.”

Barnes recommended that the district’s school board mandate masks. This comes after a health advisory from the LMAS District Health Department on Aug. 27, advised everyone wear a mask inside.

“I am an educator. I am not a health official, so I need to follow what the local health department is saying,” said Barnes.

In July, Alger County did not add any cases of COVID, according to state health department data. In August, the county has added 26 confirmed cases.

Barnes says the school board approved the mandate in a 3-2 vote on Monday night. The superintendent says feedback at the meeting was divided, but respectful.

“The feedback on both sides was fantastic,” said Barnes. “The civil discourse that occurred last night was exceptional and I’m proud of our community for the people that spoke on both sides of this issue.”

Barnes says the only exception to the mandate is when teachers are by themselves in their classrooms. He says the district, with around 30 students, will watch recommendations from the local health department and will remove the mandate if cases get low enough.

Burt Township starts classes next Tuesday, Sept. 7. Learn more about the school system in Grand Marais on its website.

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