Update RE: Face Mask Guidelines

The Oakland County Health Division recently announced it will lift its requirement to wear masks in schools and daycares effective February 28. Emergency order 2021-1, which obligated educational institutions to require students, teachers, and staff to wear a face covering in order to slow the transmission of COVID-19, will be rescinded. The reasoning behind the health department’s decision can be found here. Based on current conditions, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is also expiring the Public Health Advisory on Masking in Indoor Public Settings, including school settings.

This week, the Archdiocese of Detroit’s Return to School Task Force convened to review this change and concluded to relax mandatory mask wearing throughout AOD schools beginning February 28. The revised Archdiocesan Return to School Task Force Guidance can be found here. We require mask wearing for all staff and students until February 28.

Masking continues to be recommended as an important tool to decrease the spread of COVID-19, especially for individuals/households with high risk factors and unvaccinated individuals. Mercy High School will continue to encourage and support mask wearing for our students and staff who choose to practice this mitigation strategy past February 28.

Additional prevention practices against COVID-19, such as vaccinations, hand washing, social distancing, and staying home when sick will help protect our students, teachers, staff, and visitors. Please continue to report any positive COVID-19 case to Mrs. Eleasha Tarplin, Dean of Student Affairs (edtarplin@mhsmi.org).

The use of facial coverings as required by federal order on school buses and other forms of public transportation remains in effect.

Mercy High School will continue to follow all state and local Health Department Orders regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Any student or staff member who tests positive for COVID-19, or any unvaccinated student or staff member who is exposed to COVID-19, must still wear a mask per OCHD guidelines if they opt to return to school under the shortened quarantine/isolation protocol.

We are grateful for the support we have received from students, staff and families that has greatly contributed to our success in the continuity of learning throughout the pandemic. We appreciate your continued partnership as we move forward to ensure the safety of our community.


COVID-19 is a contagious viral illness that spreads in the air through coughing, sneezing, and talking. Symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. For additional information regarding COVID-19, please visit the OCHD website at https://www.oakgov.com/health.
Please watch for any symptoms of COVID-19. If your daughter develops symptoms, we urge you to get her tested for COVID-19. Testing locations can be found using the COVID-19 Test Finder at https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus. If your daughter or anyone residing in your household tests positive for COVID-19, is awaiting COVID-19 test results or is symptomatic, your daughter must stay home from school. COVID-19 positive test results or exposure should be promptly reported to Dean of Student Affairs, Mrs. Eleasha Tarplin (edtarplin@mhsmi.org or 248-893-3568).


**Mercy High School will continue to monitor community COVID-19 transmission rates and adjust policies as necessary based on health department requirements.**

The safety and health of our students is once again in the forefront. The spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant is rapidly increasing, and Oakland County is currently in a zone identified as one of substantial transmission. We ask for your support for the most effective measures in keeping all members within our Mercy community healthy and in-person during this school year:


Vaccination is proven as the primary leading public health COVID-19 prevention strategy. We recommend that all eligible students and staff receive vaccines in order to maintain in-person learning, extracurricular activities and sports - as well as to support our care and concern for the health of the overall Mercy community.

  • Speak to your health care provider, or visit Oakland County’s Get Vaccinated site for appointment information.

  • Proof of vaccination may be required in cases of confirmed exposure in order to determine quarantine procedures.

Health Protocols:

  • Daily screening check-ins are not in effect this year; however anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or feeling ill should not enter the building. Students who are ill must stay at home.
  • We continue to follow CDC guidance regarding cleaning and disinfecting the building. Hand sanitizing stations remain in place throughout the school.

  • Whenever possible, 3’ social distancing will be enforced. Students are encouraged to social distance in common areas.

  • We encourage students and staff, regardless of vaccination status, to get tested for COVID-19 if experiencing symptoms or if they are a close contact of someone who has COVID-19.

  • Hand sanitation stations continue to be located throughout the school, and we will resume our thorough evening disinfectant protocol of the campus.

  • Common student areas (Media Center, Cafeteria, Lobby and alcoves) will be open for student use, however seating at each Cafeteria table will be limited to 4 individuals.

Quarantine & Return to School Guidelines:

  • We will continue to work with the Oakland County Health Department in enforcing quarantine protocol when contract tracing COVID-19 exposures.

  • Unvaccinated individuals are at higher risk for mandatory quarantining if exposed to COVID-19.

  • For students who are exposed to COVID-19, quarantine may be necessary. Students who have completed the primary COVID-19 vaccine series or have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days AND are not symptomatic are not required to quarantine.

  • Monitor for symptoms for days 0-10; AND

  • Students who are not fully vaccinated and/or symptomatic must quarantine at home for 5 days (day “0” is the day of exposure).

  • If the student remains asymptomatic, she may return to school on day 6 with a negative rapid antigen test result administered by the Mercy Wellness Center. Symptomatic students should remain at home for the full 10 days.

    • To schedule a rapid antigen test with the Wellness Center, contact Nurse Pat Attaway (pattaway@mhsmi.org or 248-893-3568) prior to day 6.

    • Students declining the rapid antigen test option must quarantine for the full 10 days.

  • With a negative test result, the student may return to school while wearing a well fitting mask and continuing to monitor for symptoms through day 10. 

    • In order to participate in extracurricular activities, including athletics and performing arts, well fitting masks must be worn over the mouth and nose at all times for days 6-10. During this time, students who decline or are unable to mask may not participate in any extracurricular activities.

  • If the test result is positive or should the student develop symptoms, the student will return home and follow the protocols for COVID-19 positive students.

  • Students who test positive for COVID-19 and/or display COVID-19 symptoms should isolate regardless of vaccination status:

  • Monitor for symptoms for days 0-10; AND

  • Isolate at home for days 0-5 (day “0” is the day symptoms begin or day test was taken for those without symptoms); AND

  • If symptoms have improved, no new symptoms have developed and 24-hours fever-free, the student may return to school while wearing a well-fitting mask, for days 6-10.

    • In order to participate in extracurricular activities, including athletics and performing arts, well fitting masks must be worn over the mouth and nose at all times for days 6-10. During this time, students who decline or are unable to mask may not participate in any extracurricular activities.

  • If symptoms have not improved, contact the Mercy HS Wellness Nurse for further guidance in determining a return to school date.

  • Remote learning is only available to students required to isolate due to a positive COVID-19 test result or mandatory quarantine. Parents must submit online learning requests to Dean of Student Affairs, Eleasha Tarplin (edtarplin@mhsmi.org) and will be notified of approval within 24 hours.

  • Further OCHD quarantine guidelines may be found here.

Outlined protocol is subject to change in this ever evolving situation. Thank you for your support as we work in partnership to safely bring our students back to five day in-person learning, with many of the cherished routines and traditions that make a Mercy education excellent and unique!