LANSING — Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon issued an emergency order requiring K-12 schools to provide public notice to the school community about probable and confirmed cases of COVID-19 within 24 hours.
With this order, a reporting system was put in place at michigan.gov/coronavirus.
COVID-19 outbreaks associated with educational institutions are reported by local health departments each week to MDHHS and stored in a report structure on the website.
The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists define an “outbreak” as educational institutions (i.e., grades K-12 and institutions of higher education) that have been found by their local health department to have two or more COVID-19 cases who may have shared exposure on school grounds and are from different households, before and after school programs, and cases originating from on-campus and off-campus student housing.
Among the list of schools with confirmed outbreaks are Salina and Divine Child in Dearborn.
Salina Intermediate School was listed as having two confirmed staff cases as of Sept. 21 and Divine Child High School having six cases among students and staff as of Sept. 21.
There are seven cases in the district, all of which are staff members at Bryant Middle School, Fordson High, Henry Ford Early College, William Ford, Salina and Whitmore-Bolles.
However, according to dearbornpublicschools.org, there are seven cases in the district, all of which are staff members at Bryant Middle School, Fordson High, Henry Ford Early College, William Ford, Salina and Whitmore-Bolles.
Dearborn Public Schools Superintendent Glenn Maleyko said that while only one of the schools was considered to have an outbreak, the district is following all protocols.
“We have been and are continuing to follow all protocols to a T as to what the Wayne County Health Department has required,” he said. “We don’t currently have students back to school aside from learning labs, which started this week and is a maximum of six students at a time.
“The cases we have seen are from people coming into the buildings who tested positive, and in a community with a 5.9 percent positive rate, it’s bound to happen. We are fully aligned and committed to following the CDC and Wayne County Health Department’s guidelines and requirements for our students and staff to remain healthy and safe.”
The reporting table on michigan.gov advises that students or staff who are exposed to COVID-19 outside of school grounds and are not thought to have spread the disease on the school grounds (due to quarantine, self-isolation, etc.) are not included.
Divine Child’s website did not contain any information regarding COVID-19 cases.
The new order issued by Gordon requires local health departments to notify schools within 24 hours of learning of a probable or confirmed school-associated case of COVID-19. Schools must then provide public notification on a highly visible location on the school’s website that covers the impacted building or location within 24 hours.
Schools are also encouraged by this order to provide information about measures in place at the school to prevent transmission of COVID-19, as well as measures that individuals can take to prevent transmission.
Gordon said that COVID-19 can spread quickly in schools.
“Recent outbreaks throughout the country demonstrate that COVID-19 can spread quickly in the school setting,” he said. “Timely communication from schools to parents, guardians, students, teachers, staff and other persons affiliated with schools enables members of the school community to take measures to prevent spread of the virus.”
The order goes into effect Monday, Oct. 12 and the reporting updates Mondays at 3 p.m.