LESLIE, Mich. — As COVID-19 cases continue to trend upward, the Leslie Public Schools is moving instruction online.
According to the New York Times, the Lansing area was ranked seventh in the country for recent COVID-19 cases relative the size of its population, and Jackson was ranked first. Sandwiched between the two: Leslie, Michigan.
"We're a microcosm of our community. So, when the numbers go up in our community, the numbers go up in our school as well," said Leslie Public Schools Superintendent Scott Powers. Currently the school district has 13 cases of COVID-19.
Leslie Public Schools has been a hybrid of face-to-face and virtual learning since Aug. 24, with in-person learning Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and virtual learning on Wednesdays. Powers said only about 30 percent of their students were online prior to the switch announced day. Sunday.
"In the past week our numbers of positive cases and our quarantine numbers all of a sudden peaked -- went up a lot," Powers said. "Over the weekend we had a couple more positive cases, so it just was the right time to say, 'Hey, for student safety, we really need to take a pause and jump to virtual learning for this week.' We have spring break afterwards, the timing was right, just to make sure that our kids are safe."
The Lansing Public Schools made a decision to delay its return to in-person instruction until April 12.
"When we first started on this journey a year or so ago, we always had said that we were going to...follow the science, and...keeping in mind the safety and health of our students, staff and families. And, it's no different right now," said Superintendent Sam Sinicropi. "Our trends that we are looking at - we have our school nurses as our advisers - the trends continue to be a little higher than we wish, so we decided that we would postpone until after spring break which would be April 12."
Mason Public Schools, which has reported seven new cases in the last week, is "not in talks to return to distance learning as a district," according to Communications and Design Specialist Sara Parkinson. "We will continue to isolate individuals and classrooms as needed as cases arise."
Both Powers and Sinicropi said they are prepared to keep instruction virtual longer if case numbers are still on the rise.
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