Back to Learning: Local schools preparing for potential COVID-19 outbreaks

Northwest Community Schools is offering in-person and virtual learning options
Published: Sep. 1, 2020 at 5:42 PM EDT
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BLACKMAN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WILX) - COVID-19 is now in Michigan schools as kids go back to learning.

The state said there are five outbreaks in K-12 schools. One of those outbreaks is in a Mid-Michigan school, but the state isn’t saying which building or district.

The outbreak is not at Northwest Community Schools, which went back to learning last week. However, the district said it is ready to handle any potential outbreak this year.

“We’re not going to stop it,” said Kelly Grygiel, Northwest Community Schools Compliance Manager.

Northwest is one of many schools offering in-person and virtual learning options.

Grygiel works with the Jackson County Health Department to help minimize the risk of COVID-19 in the schools.

“Every situation is unique. We have to talk through every situation with the health department, whether it be a close contact or a positive,” she said.

Parents understand the risks of sending their kids to in person learning.

Robin Novak’s son is a junior at Northwest High School.

“Although it’s a risk, I feel like we are going to be taking risks everyday in life so we’ve got to figure out how to make all this work,” she said.

Novak understands there is the possibility her son could bring COVID-19 home from school.

But she said with the precautions the district is taking, like requiring masks, it could actually be safer for him.

“The concerns would be in other areas if he were home all the time as far as mental health is concerned,” said Novak.

The state of Michigan said outbreaks are generally two or more cases indicating a shared exposure outside of a household-exposure that could happen differently during the school day.

“It depends on how the classes move throughout the building, it depends on the length of contact,” said Grygiel.

The Jackson County Health Department told News 10 it is also working with schools to figure out why kids might be absent.

Northwest Community Schools said it plans to communicate regularly with parents, staff and the community about any potential COVID-19 cases.

Track COVID-19 outbreaks in Michigan here.

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