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COVID-19 Status Update 9/26/21
Good afternoon Panther Family. I am sharing an update on the status of COVID cases in the District. Please be advised that we have received confirmation on and reported new positive COVID cases on our District Dashboard as of 9/24/21. We have additional, currently unconfirmed, cases that we will be reporting on Monday. You can check the COVID-19 Reporting page on our website at any time. Case numbers are updated within 24 hours of official notification by the Health Department.
The recent regional increase of COVID-19 is a concern to everyone. Current statistics have Chippewa County at a 8% 7-day positivity rate and Mackinac County appears to be at 15% for 7-day positivity. We have had 37 positive COVID cases in the District since 8/23/21. Twenty-six (26) of those 37 cases (70%) have been identified and reported to us since 9/20/21. This brings the District's cumulative total, since reporting began in fall 2020, to 53 positive cases. To give you some perspective, our running total was 18 positive cases as of April 2021. Since the start of this school year, 11% of positive cases have come from the K-5 elementary and the remainder are from grades 6-12 (89%).
Due to the number of positive and quarantined students and staff, and the concentration of cases mostly at grades 6-12, we have decided to close grades 6-12 to face to face instruction through Wednesday, September 29th. Sixth through 12th grade students will return to the building on Thursday, September 30th for face to face instruction. Sixth through 12th grade students will be expected to follow the schedule for distance learning and log in or call in to their classes each hour on September 27th, 28th, and 29th. Sports practices and competitions will continue for 6th-12th through the period of distance/virtual learning. Athletes will be asked to monitor closely for symptoms and not attend practice or competitions if they are ill, even if symptoms are mild. Distancing will be encouraged before and after practice and face coverings are encouraged where physical distancing is difficult to maintain.
Students in grades K-5 will return to school face to face on Monday, September 27th. We will increase spacing and offer face coverings where physical distancing is difficult to maintain. Students will be reminded to wash their hands often or use hand sanitizer. Students in quarantine will receive instructions from their teacher about how to connect to distance learning sessions.
It will be very important for all of our distance learners to log in to their zoom sessions so that we can meet attendance levels (75%) required to count the day. The Zoom sessions will be open for the entire class period, but students only need to stay on long enough to hear the instruction and can then log off, when directed by their teacher(s), to work on their assignments. Students without internet connectivity are being asked to contact the school so we can make other arrangements to support them in accessing their classes.
We are hopeful that our current plan for next week will allow enough time for any lingering illness to run its course and for any remaining COVID-19 cases to be identified without being present in our building and creating close contact situations. We are doing what we feel will keep all students and staff as safe as possible while still maximizing access to academic content and instruction and preserving the opportunity for sports seasons at the middle/high school levels.
It is clear that COVID is still a concern in our community, and we strongly recommend/encourage taking action to help limit the spread of COVID-19, even if you are not experiencing symptoms. These practices are very important if we want to keep our students in school.
- Stay home if you are sick, even if symptoms are mild.
- Wear a face covering in areas where physical distancing is difficult to maintain.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
We do have rapid tests in the main office and have approval to run a voluntary testing program for students and staff who would like to be tested. The Chippewa County and LMAS Health Departments have vaccination clinic information available on their websites and Facebook pages if you are interested.
School quarantine guidelines for asymptomatic students can be found online. This document details scenarios that will keep students/staff out of quarantine for close contact. We encourage all parents, as well as middle and high school students, to review it and understand the impact of decisions regarding mitigation measures for all of the various scenarios.
If you have questions, please reach out to the central office at 906 647-6285. Thank you for your continued support. Take care and be well.
Mrs. Angela Nettleton
Phone: 906-647-6285 ext. 2204