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Mid-Michigan schools attendance down amid COVID surge

Mid-Michigan schools attendance down amid COVID surge
Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 6:43 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Some schools across Michigan are dealing with low attendance numbers due to the omicron surge.

Jan. 7, 2022: Record shattered as Michigan reports 40,692 new cases, 259 deaths over past 2 days

Experts said things will get worse before they get better.

Nearly half of the students at East Lansing High School were absent Thursday and Friday. Superintendent Dori Leyko said they had 55% in attendance Thursday and 65% Friday.

She said the change is a result of students coming back from the holidays either sick or staying home to avoid getting sick.

The district gave students at-home COVID tests before coming back from winter break. Leyko said 47 called in with COVID in the first week of January.

”At least 47 students were called in by their parents with a positive COVID case,” Leyko said. “So, some of those would be a result of taking those tests at home. Some of them could’ve been from other tests. But I would say that that program is super successful because it kept maybe 47 students from walking through our building with COVID.”

The district said they also have been using what is called “Test to Stay,” a testing system that requires students exposed to the virus to get regularly tested instead of quarantine.

Waverly Community Schools has been doing the same thing, testing 80 students Friday morning.

“We do Test to Stay every single day from 7 to 9,” said Waverly superintendent Kelly Blake. “That’s been great.”

Blake said Waverly Community Schools has been at 80% attendance, but haven’t seen the same numbers since before the pandemic.

“I think people have some fear associated with the virus and that’s understandable,” Blake said. “We do have children who are sick and staff who are sick, so our attendance isn’t what it would normally be in a non pandemic year.”

Both school districts expect to see more students in the schools soon.

Related: ‘We have to do something’ -- Michigan parents split over in-person, online education plans

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