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Superintendent addresses coronavirus confusion after letter

Posted at 4:44 PM, Feb 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-03 19:50:56-05

PORTAGE, Mich. — Portage Public Schools officials are trying to calm parent’s fears after a letter about coronavirus caused some confusion over the weekend.

Due to the amount of feedback and concerns the district heard from parents, they sent out a follow-up on Monday to ensure everyone there is no current risk to students.

The problems started Sunday when parents received a letter containing the district’s plan of action if coronavirus became a concern. It was sent after school officials learned a family had traveled to China.

However, that letter referenced that family as “one case that we’re aware of,” making parents question if there was an actual case of the virus.

The follow-up on Monday apologizes for the confusion.

“Our intent was to develop a message designed to keep you informed with the information we had at the time, while still protecting student and family privacy,” the letter says in part. “It has become clear that we actually may have created more confusion and concern. For that we are deeply sorry.”

Superintendent Mark Bielang said that is not the case and the students who were on that trip to China haven’t been to school since returning.

“None of the student have been to school since they’ve returned from china,” Bielang said. “And I would add that the parents and the family has been very cooperative with the district to make sure we’re doing everything we can to address the situation and still protect the identity of the family involved.”

Michigan’s health department says there are no known cases of coronavirus in Michigan right now, and the district is being diligent about cleaning and sanitizing buildings to limit the spread of any illnesses.