LANSING, Mich. — COVID-19 continues to cause challenges as we start the school year. State health officials reported 71 new COVID-19 school outbreaks across Michigan.
The Monroe County Health Department is following new outbreaks at Zion Lutheran in Monroe (two cases), Saint Mary's Catholic Central in Monroe (six cases), Dundee Elementary in Dundee (two cases), Whiteford Elementary in Ottawa Lake (four cases), Whiteford High School in Ottawa Lake (three cases), and Jefferson High School in Newport (six cases).
The Oakland County Health Department is following outbreaks at Walled Lake Western High School (two cases), Cranbrook Administrative Building in Bloomfield Hills (two cases), and Avondale GATE Magnet School in Auburn Hills (eight cases).
The Wayne County Health Department is following outbreaks at St. Paul On The Lake Catholic School in Grosse Pointe Farms (six cases) and Belleville High School (five cases) according to the state.
The state defines outbreaks as situations where there is COVID-19 transmission in schools. The virus continues to have an impact in many ways, even in schools not experiencing outbreaks.
Pinckney Community Schools has canceled varsity football practice and quarantined dozens of students after the head varsity coach and his assistant tested positive over the weekend.
“I know for certain our head football coach is fully vaccinated, so this is one of those breakthrough cases we have been hearing about,” said Rick Todd, Superintendent Pinckney Community Schools.
Its big varsity football game against Chelsea Friday is now canceled. Numerous students are quarantined.
“From my latest report I received this morning I think we are looking at about 30 student-athletes,” said Todd.
Superintendent Todd says vaccinated students will not have to quarantine.
“We are a smaller community. We are a smaller team, so we work very closely together. Both in the team meeting rooms, obviously out on the football field, in the locker rooms, and on the bus. So, it doesn't make it more of a challenge to contact trace. School is a much more structured environment,” said Todd.
There are schools that are not having “outbreaks”, where it has been determined the transmission happened in school, that are still being hit hard by the virus. Hartland Consolidated Schools is currently reporting 33 new, or currently infected students and staff.
“There are a lot of choices that have to be made,” said Matt Sherman.
Sherman is a dad from Holly who spoke to 7 Action News at a youth softball team in Hartland. He says his family has already repeatedly been impacted by COVID-19 this school year, while fortunately staying healthy. After a close contact in school, his child had to get tested. Plus his children’s sports have experienced disruptions. It can be stressful. He says he is hoping having most of the family vaccinated provides some protection.
“We choose to go with the vaccination. We try to vaccinate all those around us who can’t get vaccinated to try to limit the transmission there,” he said.