Mt. Pleasant Middle School will switch to virtual learning amid a COVID-19 outbreak that involved more than 40 students and school staff on Thursday.
District Superintendent Jennifer Verleger informed parents on Thursday that the school will close Friday for teacher preparation and switch to virtual learning starting Monday. Students are expected to return to class on September 27, according to the letter.
The move came the same day the district reported that the number of cases at the college had increased to 12, 11 students and one staff member.
Since September 2, when the district reported three cases in total to the school, the number of cases has increased by 47 for a cumulative total of 50. Forty-two have involved students and the remaining five have involved staff.
Also on Thursday, the district reported six new cases to Fancher Elementary School, doubling the school’s previous cumulative total to 12, all involving students. At least one fifth-grade class has been placed in quarantine for close contact.
The district also reported its first case to Ganiard Elementary School, involving a student. He also reported one new case of a high school student, bringing his cumulative total number of cases to eight; and two at McGuire Elementary, bringing his cumulative total to 10.
The Mt. Pleasant Middle School was not covered by the district’s original masking policy, which provided for universal masking only for students 11 and under. People of this age are not eligible for any of the vaccines approved for use in the United States.
The district school board approved this policy during the summer vacation. A week and a half ago, it adopted a policy requiring universal masking in all of its buildings.
K-12-related outbreaks are currently the largest source of COVID-19 outbreaks in the state, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported this week that most outbreaks occur in counties without mask control.
The Michigan Central District Health Department has not issued a K-12 mask order in its six counties – Isabella, Clare, Roscommon, Arenac, Osceola and Gladwin – but is supporting local districts implementing theirs. .
Prior to implementing their district-wide mask order, school board members contacted Jennifer Morse, CMDHD Medical Director, and Steve Hall, CMDHD Health Officer, about their recommendation and the reasons. for which the health service would not issue an order for masks.
CMDHD officials told school board members that districts implementing their own mask orders offered a more flexible approach to the problem. In the same document they shared a summary of scientific studies from the Ottawa County Department of Health support the use of masks to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The principal of Shepherd Elementary School on Friday sent a letter to parents informing them that because the school had met the district policy threshold requiring masks to be worn for at least next week.
Previously, high school and college and Winn Elementary had reached this threshold.