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Safely Back to School: Schools with in-person learning plan for COVID positive cases

Posted at 12:56 AM, Jul 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-30 11:20:44-04

ROCKFORD, Mich. — Schools across Michigan that have made the decision to reopen are working on future plans in the case that a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19.

Rockford Public Schools has announced they will be offering parents two choices: in-class instruction or remote learning. The results of a parent survey showed roughly 100 parents were considering remote learning out of the 8,000 students in the district. Overwhelmingly, parents are asking the district to continue classes this fall.

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Superintendent Michael Schibler says he and his team are in contact with the Kent County Health Department and will regularly look to public health experts for guidance.

"I’m expecting to get help. School districts across the state should be expecting to get help and assistance on these issues because you’ve got to contain it," said Superintendent Schibler. "The only way that you are going to contain it is to follow those steps that are outlined and so forth, to make sure that you are limiting exposure."

Teachers at Rockford will have socially distanced classrooms. Teachers will wear masks throughout the school day, along with students. Secondary students will be expected to wear masks in the hallways.

The administration continues to develop plans regarding reopening. For instance, Schibler is considering having boxed lunches and avoiding cafeteria use. Some teachers continue to consider staggering desks out in the hallway in space that would allow it. The district also plans to hire more custodians to keep up with the ongoing sanitizing requirements.

In the case that the district encounters a COVID-19 positive student or staff member, each person who was in that classroom will be considered exposed. They will then have to remain at home for at least three days, to monitor whether they have any symptoms, and be tested if kits are available. The district is currently considering having its own registered nurse administer the tests.

"I wouldn’t want to have to wait for a week to figure out and find out if somebody is or is not contagious," said Schibler. "That's a real issue, that we have been promised that these test kits will be available ... But I want to make sure that we can use those testing centers or use our own personnel to test and will be trained, then get the results back in a timely fashion."

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The plans for reopening remain fluid, and Schibler says he and his team will continue to working diligently throughout the year to keep children safe.