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GRPS to continue remote learning due to increase in COVID positivity rate in Kent County

GRPS 09122020
Posted at 10:37 AM, Oct 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-19 17:17:21-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Students at Grand Rapids Public Schools will continue to learn remotely until the second semester.

The decision was announced by the district Monday after an increase in cases in Kent County.

Since the start of school, the district has worked with health officials to try and figure out if sending kids back on October 26 would be the best decision.

On Friday, the Kent County Health Department announced the positivity rate for the county is up to 4.5% which is a significant increase from previous weeks.

Kent County is currently exceeding 150 cases per million and local hospitals are at capacity with both COVID and non-COVID patients, according to the health department.

The health department advised all school districts should consider going virtual during this uptick.

As a result, the district is postponing in-person learning at this time and will continue with virtual instruction for the remainder of the first semester until January 4, 2021.

The district says while the decision was hard to make, it is following the science and data.

"The reality is the data is headed in the wrong direction for Kent County and the back and forth with potential closings will be more disruptive than just staying virtual now," the district said in a statement. "We want to assure students and families that we will continue to find ways to strengthen and improve the virtual learning experience and the supports for all students, particularly those with the greatest needs."