Brian Walmsley reads to a third grade class at Will L. Lee Elementary School via Richmond Community Schools Facebook page.
COVID-19 cases rise across the state of Michigan as more K-12 students have returned to in-person learning.
Richmond Community school district board reevaluated its Extended COVID-19 Learning Plan via Zoom at the school board’s regular meeting on March 22. The board decided to continue options for both in-person and virtual learning.
Superintendent Brian Walmsley said the district had an emergency meeting March 22 with the Health Department in Macomb County about high school students seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases.
Some board members asked how Richmond compared to other school districts.
“Anchor Bay shut down for a couple days this week for the high school and I know St. Clair County’s got a ton of districts that are now virtual,” said Treasurer Danielle Sutton.
According to Walmsley, Richmond schools are monitoring differences in COVID-19 cases among districts, including tracing positive cases back to events that have taken place outside school, such as a party or social gathering.
“Nine out of 10 times, the contact tracing goes back to an event that has been outside of school … but typically when school districts are at that point (facing shutdowns), they are starting to identify the spread is happening because of contact within the school,” said Walmsley. “We haven’t had the significant positive cases that other districts are reporting.”
Richmond schools have been averaging one exposure per day and had around 100 students in quarantine as of March 22, according to Walmsley.
Walmsley said there was concern about spring break causing a spike in positive cases.
With both in-person and virtual options for all students K-12, the district uses a two-way communication policy to measure attendance. Currently, around 10% of students have virtual instruction.
Walmsley encouraged students, parents and staff to keep following social distancing and wear masks.