County plans to make schools, community safer

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Since Oct. 5, Ingham County has required employees be vaccinated or take a COVID-19 test every week. On Sept. 26, its original pass date, 2 out of 11 county commissioners opposed it. 

Benjamin Shuldiner, Lansing School District’s new superintendent, said he is very happy with the community’s response to the mask and vaccine policy.

“We, as a district, have been thrilled to see a rate of compliance with our myriad of COVID-19 mitigation strategies. Our staff and students wear masks. We try to go outside when possible. We try to socially distance both staff and students when feasible. We cohort students. We have many mitigation strategies. The Lansing School District is doing very well in its implementation of its mask mandate.”

The Lansing School Board has also passed a resolution mandating vaccinations for all staff. Shuldiner, previously principal and co-founder of the High School for Public Service in Brooklyn, fully supports rapid testing for staff members choosing to not be vaccinated.

Ingham County received a $10.2 million budget increase compared to the 2020 budget. Gregg Todd, Ingham County controller, says the county is using federal grants, such as the American Rescue Plan, to help cover the costs of rapid-testing requirements. With these federal funds, local taxpayer dollars will not be used, and the 2022 budget will remain intact.

“As an employer, if we’re going to set a mandate, we are going to cover the costs.”

Sparrow Hospital and other organizations are working  to figure out testing availability and costs. 

The Ingham County Health Department informs visitors and civilians of the COVID-19 services offered

As the vaccine faced challenges, Ingham County’s health communication specialist, Madison Van Epps said the  department is releasing information to news channels, using social media and keeping websites current to connect with residents on health updates. 

“Throughout the last two years, our community has looked towards the Ingham County Health Department to provide guidance, resources, and support the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ingham County Health Department works diligently to be transparent and timely in communicating health updates regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, testing opportunities, and other COVID-19 mandates, while using the most recent data and science.”

The Ingham County Health Department and Health Officer Linda Vail support the county-wide vaccine and weekly testing mandate.

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