St. Gerard Catholic School making slight changes to reopening plan after teacher catches COVID-19

68 students and five staff members are in 14 day quarantine
Published: Sep. 9, 2020 at 6:08 PM EDT
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DELTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WILX) - Seventh and eighth grade classrooms at St. Gerard Catholic School in Delta Township will be empty for the next two weeks.

Students are learning virtually after spending a week and half in the classroom.

This is because a teacher, who wasn’t showing any symptoms, tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend.

“I was surprised. This teacher is very cautious about everything she does. She had a lot of concern about coming back to school,” said Ray Rzepecki, Saint Gerard Principal.

Rzepecki said only the teacher has coronavirus as of Wednesday evening. This means there is not an outbreak at the school because the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services defines an outbreak as “two or more cases with a link by place and time indicating a shared exposure outside of a household.”

Rzepecki said the school is ready if this becomes an outbreak.

“That was something we had planned for. We knew it was likely it was going to happen at one of our schools and we wanted to be able to react quickly,” he said.

Rzepecki told News 10 the only change to the Return to Learn plan would be limiting the teacher’s movement within the classroom.

“That would make it possible so we may even be able to limit the amount of kids we quarantine,” said Rzepecki.

He said that will be an adjustment for teachers.

“It’s very natural for teachers to wander around the classroom to make sure students are doing what they are supposed to be doing and to check for learning,” said Rzepecki

The school is working closely with the Barry - Eaton District Health Department on this plan.

Rzepecki said this includes keeping different classes away from each in the event that there are unknown COVID-19 cases in the school.

“We do lunch cohorts. At recess time, the students are separated by classroom so they are not in the same area,” said Rzepecki.

The junior high students will return to learning in-person on September 21. Preschool through sixth grade are still learning in the classroom.

The Catholic Diocese of Lansing said parents can switch their students from in-person learning to virtual learning at any time.

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