Algonquin Elementary is moving to all-virtual instruction next week in an attempt to mitigate a COVID-19 outbreak among students and staff.
In a letter to parents, principal Brooklynn Lestage said in-person instruction will be paused at the elementary school on Monday. Students who are healthy and symptom-free may return to school on Nov. 15.
Algonac Community Schools Superintendent Al Latosz said the pause will comply with a 10 day quarantine, as students would not be in school Friday since it is an in-service work day for staff.
Latosz said a total of nine COVID-19 cases were identified in the elementary school last week, the majority of which were in sixth grade. Sixth grade moved to all-virtual instruction Tuesday after several more cases were identified in the grade Monday.
The letter said there were 17 known cases when the sixth grade went to all-virtual learning. The school has been made aware of five more cases among students and staff in grades second through five since Wednesday, the letter said.
Latosz said cases were identified among four teachers mid-week, leading the school to believe there was spread of the virus within the school.
“We had the sense that if we didn’t have a pause in-person learning we would be chasing this thing for the next few months, so it just seemed like a good time to put an end to it now,” Latosz said.
Latosz said there are fewer “sporadic” cases in the rest of the school district, with several in grades seven through 12, but not of the magnitude at the elementary school.
“We are monitoring daily and if we feel that we had cases in the seven-12 building that were spreading then we would have to look at more stringent mitigation strategies,” Latosz said in an email.
Latosz said the district continues to report COVID-19 cases to the St. Clair County Health Department, and is working with the department on mitigation measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
The school district does not have a mandatory mask mandate, like most other school districts in the county. While Latosz said the school is currently not planning to revise it’s stance on masks, it will address and revise its COVID-19 mitigation measures as necessary.
All instruction will be conducted via Google Classroom, SeeSaw and Zoom. Students are required to check in with their teachers daily for attendance, the letter said.
Students who do not have internet access may pick up paper assignments or a Chromebook at the school office during normal school hours Friday. Struggling learners may also contact the school office at (810) 794-9317 for assistance, the letter said.
Teachers prepared students for the pause by explaining the daily routine and expectations to students Thursday. Paper and digital copies of the daily schedule and instructions were sent to parents Thursday.
Contact Laura Fitzgerald at (810) 941-7072 or email@example.com.