COVID spread widely in Michigan schools this year, and especially quickly in school districts without masking requirements.
Some districts have acknowledged that they can’t keep track of the huge number of COVID cases they are facing.
Spotty reporting means the state’s count of COVID outbreaks in schools has become even less reliable.
Despite the data’s limitations, many families are keenly interested in COVID cases at their children’s schools, and the state’s reports on school-related outbreaks are one way to get a rough sense of viral spread in schools.
Districts also post COVID tallies on their websites that include all cases, not just those related to outbreaks, but those numbers aren’t aggregated across the state, and they can be hard to find.
That’s why Chalkbeat is publishing a table containing all COVID outbreaks in Michigan K-12 schools this year. The data, published by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Resources, is published weekly.
An outbreak is roughly defined by epidemiologists as three or more linked COVID cases on school grounds. At the start of this school year, epidemiologists began declaring outbreaks after at least three related COVID cases are reported to public health officials. Previously, two cases were enough to warrant an outbreak declaration. One-off cases not part of outbreaks won’t be included in the state data.
If 12 students contracted COVID after coming into contact with each other at school, that’s an outbreak. If just two students got COVID in the same classroom, the cases wouldn’t be reported, because an outbreak would need to have at least three cases to be reported to the state.
So far, health officials have reported more than 9,700 outbreak-related COVID cases in K-12 schools.
Search the table below for your school or county. Chalkbeat will update this table weekly to give you the most current data available from the state. It was last updated March 14, 2022.