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Ionia Public Schools discusses a difficult decision to return to remote schooling

Posted at 4:31 PM, Oct 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-22 16:31:55-04

IONIA, Mich. — In just two days, the number of kids and teachers from Ionia Public Schools in quarantine has gone from 38, to 100 people.

The district says they along with the health department have determined none of the COVID cases were contracted at school. But it's still impacting learning. The district made the difficult decision to start remote schooling from October 26-November 6.

Contact tracing shows a clearer picture of where the cases have come from.

“The cases have come from the bowling alley, the moose lodge, a golf outing, other family gatherings, where people have not observed the social distancing and have not been wearing masks,” Superintendent Ron Wilson said.

With 12 teachers now in quarantine, the school got on the fast track to readying work-from-home equipment for the next two weeks.

“There is a significant shortage of substitutes. When we get to the point where we can’t staff buildings, we don’t have much of a choice,” Wilson said.

For Ionia, remote learning is an option, but it's not as easy as it is for other schools.

12:19 “60% of our households don’t have internet access,” Wilson said.

Hotspots provided by the school don't always work in rural areas.

“In some cases, it ends up being the “haves” versus the “have-nots,” Wilson said.

The school is hoping numbers go down enough to resume education in-person by November 9.