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    Michigan students going back to school amid turmoil over masks, vaccines and a lingering pandemic


    This school year was supposed to be normal. 

    Parents across Michigan have repeated that over and over in the past month, as if to change the existing back-to-school reality. 

    The truth is more tangled. A more infectious variant of the coronavirus, a lack of vaccinations available for children under 12, and anecdotal outbreak stories from states already back in school have contributed to escalated anxiety about sending children in this state back to classrooms. Planning once again involves “mitigation strategies,” like universal indoor mask mandates and fights over implementing them.

    What’s held for many families, in contrast to last year, is the determination to return in-person. School leaders say they know more about the spread of COVID-19 this time around. Parents say their children are in dire need of academic and emotional intervention. 



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