UPDATE: Michigan has 18 new K-12 schools with COVID outbreaks

A calculator sits on a desk as students work in a math class at Southeastern High School in Detroit, MI. Photo by Anthony Lanzilote/Chalkbeat �June, 2019 photo�
A calculator sits on a desk as students work in a math class at Southeastern High School in Detroit in 2019. (Anthony Lanzilote / Chalkbeat)

UPDATED 10/05/20: The number of Michigan schools with coronavirus outbreaks continues to grow, with the number now reaching 58, according to data the state released Monday.

Schools are considered an outbreak site if local health departments report two or more COVID-19 on school grounds, and if the patients may have shared exposure on school grounds and are from different households.

The data, released every Monday around 3 p.m., show 18 new outbreak sites in K-12 schools this week. There are also 39 schools with ongoing outbreaks. A school can come off the list if there are no new confirmed or probable cases identified 28 days after the last known exposure at the school.

Holy Redeemer, a private that has reported 11 cases, is the first Detroit school on the state list.

Some of the data may be a week old.

Here are the schools added to the state’s list this week:

Holy Redemer Grade School, Detroit

Walkerville Public Schools, Walkerville

Galesburg Augusta Primary School, Galesburg

Lakeview Elementary, Negaunee

Park Elementary, Hudsonville

List Elementary, Frankenmuth

Saginaw Preparatory Academy, Saginaw

Grant Public Schools, Grant

Heritage Christian School, Hudsonville

Newaygo Public Schools, Newaygo

Grand Blanc Building and Grounds, Grand Blanc

Grand Blanc High School West Campus, Grand Blanc

Northwest High School, Jackson

Rockford High School, Rockford

Almont High School , Almont

Tecumseh High School, Tecumseh

Montcalm Area ISD, Stanton

Lutheran Westland High School, Westland

Scroll down for more information. To see the state’s full list, go here.

UPDATED 9/28/20: The number of Michigan schools with coronavirus outbreaks continues to grow, with the number now reaching 46, according to data the state released Monday.

Schools are considered an outbreak site if there are two or more cases of COVID suspected of originating on school grounds.

The data, released every Monday around 3 p.m., show 21 new outbreak sites in K-12 schools. There are also 25 schools that were listed prior to this week. A school can come off the list if there are no new confirmed or probable cases identified.

Beginning Oct. 5, local schools will be required to publicly release any positive or probable COVID cases, whether or not they’re suspected of originating on school grounds.

Here are the schools added to the state’s list:

  • Carson City Elementary, Carson City
  • Chippewa Valley Schools Administration, Clinton Township
  • Indian Hills Elementary, Washington
  • Macomb Intermediate School District, Clinton Township
  • Chapman Elementary School, Rockwood
  • University Liggett School, Grosse Pointe Woods
  • Atherton Elementary School, Burton
  • Kent City Elementary School, Kent City
  • Holy Name Catholic School, Escanaba
  • Webster Kindergarten Center, Escanaba
  • Shumate Middle School, Gibraltar
  • Escanaba Junior/Senior High School
  • Webberville School, Webberville
  • Springport High School, Springport
  • Bronson Community School, Bronson
  • Coldwater High School, Coldwater
  • Carlson High School, Rockwood
  • Swartz Creek High School, Swartz Creek
  • Lakeshore High School, Stevensville
  • Sparta High School, Sparta
  • Leelanau School, Glen Arbor

Scroll down for more information. To see the state’s full list, go here.

UPDATED 9/21/20: New data released by the state shows the number of K-12 schools with coronavirus outbreaks has risen to 28. Last week, there were 11 K-12 locations. One school, the state list indicates, is no longer considered an outbreak site.

These are the schools added to the state’s list Monday:

  • Central Elementary School, Menominee
  • St. Martha’s School, Okemos
  • Superior Hills, Marquette
  • Brookfield Academy, Troy
  • Sparta Middle School, Sparta
  • Salina Intermediate School, Dearborn
  • Grand Blanc High School, Grand Blanc
  • Blissfield Schools, Blissfield
  • Utica High School, Shelby Township
  • Airport High School, Carleton
  • Novi High School, Novi
  • West Ottawa High School, Holland
  • Unity Christian High School, Hudsonville
  • Wolverine Human Services, Saginaw
  • Arnold Elementary, Michigan Center
  • Caledonia High School, Caledonia
  • Grandville High School, Grandville
  • Divine Child High School, Dearborn

Scroll down for more information.

Classrooms have reopened in many parts of Michigan for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and — after initial resistance — state officials are publishing information about COVID-19 cases in schools.

K-12 schools so far have reported 11 coronavirus outbreaks — clusters of two or more cases that may have been transmitted on school grounds, according to data released Monday. The cases have occurred at elementary and secondary schools scattered across nine counties; the outbreaks amounted to a total of 33 cases among students and staff.

The new data doesn’t yet give a clear picture of how safe in-person learning will prove to be during the pandemic. The state plans to publish updated figures every Monday at 3 p.m. on its website.

There’s no guarantee that the numbers won’t take a turn for the worse in coming weeks: They may be as much as a week old, and many students have only been in school for five days. What’s more, even a single case of the coronavirus is dangerous for the infected student and has the potential to spark a wider outbreak in their communities. And the data released on Monday don’t include cases reported at schools that were contracted off campus.

Still, the data suggest at least that it’s safer to send students back to K-12 classrooms than to a college campus, which have seen much larger outbreaks connected to student parties. More than 1,300 cases have been identified on college campuses in Michigan.

Michigan has 1.5 million public school K-12 students. Nearly 90% of schools are offering some form of in-person instruction (it’s not yet clear what percentage of students are learning fully online).

Some of the cases included in data published by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services were previously reported by local news outlets.

Other cases reported in schools aren’t included in the data because they don’t meet the epidemiological definition of an outbreak.

Two students who attended in-person classes last Tuesday and Wednesday at the Academy of Americas in Detroit tested positive for COVID-19. The students, one third-grader and one seventh-grader, were asymptomatic.

Detroit Health Department Medical Director Najibah Rehman said that the department found that “the cases did not meet outbreak criteria as they were epidemiologically linked to a household contact such as a parent. As such, the Health Department recommended that classmates undergo self-monitoring and temperature checks and that the two students not be allowed to return to school, in adherence to CDC-recommended 14 days following a confirmed positive test.”

The district sent a robocall to families and school staff on Friday informing them of the positive cases. Based on the city health department’s analysis and consultation with school administrators, the department is not recommending students and teachers in the classes quarantine because safety measures such as mask-wearing and social distancing were followed, according to a copy of the robocall obtained by Chalkbeat. 

Each student who tested positive cannot return to school buildings until that student submits a negative COVID-test. 

The two students along with another sibling underwent COVID testing last week after their parent self-reported testing positive to the school, and city health officials confirmed it. The third student tested negative for COVID and was also asymptomatic. Detroit Public Schools Community District spokesperson Chrystal Wilson said the district is anticipating positive cases among staff and students learning in person. 

“This is inevitable. We have seen this in the district, in other districts throughout Michigan, including suburban, rural, and private schools, all of which have moved forward with offering face-to-face options for students despite positive cases,” she said. “The key is containment and transparency. We believe we are implementing all of the best practices for COVID safety. In fact, after four days of implementing our COVID safety commitments, we are not hearing examples of non-compliance with over 100 buildings in operations.” 

Click here to view the school outbreak data. K-12 schools with reported outbreaks include:

  • Oakland Christian Elementary School
  • Bright Beginnings
  • Birmingham Groves Big Brother Big Sister Program
  • Notre Dame Preparatory School
  • Jenison High School
  • St. Clair County RESA
  • Luce Road Elementary - Alma Public Schools
  • Keicher Elementary (9/21/20 update: This school is no longer considered an outbreak site)
  • Arrowwood Elementary
  • Parkside Elementary
  • Thornapple Kellogg Middle School
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