Paetyn Rasing, 5, wears a mask during a pre-K summer progrm at Swanson Traditional School in South Bend. Staff file photo by Robert Franklin
Paetyn Rasing, 5, wears a mask during a pre-K summer progrm at Swanson Traditional School in South Bend. Staff file photo by Robert Franklin
Christian Sheckler and Carley Lanich,,South Bend Tribune

St. Joseph County health officials this week cautioned school administrators against rushing to lift COVID mask requirements before January at the earliest, as at least one local school district mulls ending its mandate sooner.

County health officials said they expected to keep recommending universal masking in schools until at least the new year, and likely through the end of January, with the vaccine rollout for young children still in its early stages, and COVID infections and hospitalizations on the rise.

Speaking to the county Board of Health on Wednesday, Health Officer Dr. Bob Einterz recommended schools not lift mask requirements until at least beyond the holidays, after which, he said, the department would "re-assess things."

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 “We do have some concerns about the pressure on schools to lift mask requirements,” Einterz said, “given that there is this increasing incidence of cases.”

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