The decision comes amid positive COVID-19 cases in the district and a new county-wide threat assessment.
Due to the spike in COVID-19 cases in Oakland County, the West Bloomfield School District notified families on Monday that it was pausing in-person learning through the Thanksgiving break.
On Friday, the Oakland County Health Division changed the status of the county’s COVID-19 Risk Determination Level to E — the highest level. A level E determination means there are now 150 or more cases per million people, with a 20% or greater positivity rate in the county.
That higher risk level comes as WBSD has also recorded three recent positive COVID-19 tests: two students (at Gretchko Elementary School and West Bloomfield Middle School), as well as a staff member at the West Bloomfield Transition Center. More than 100 students and teachers in the district are also currently in quarantine due to exposure to COVID-positive individuals.
“Due to the significant increase and prevalence of COVID-19 in Oakland County and the presence of active COVID-19 cases in our schools, the West Bloomfield School District will be moving to totally remote instruction for all students effective November 2 – November 27,” superintendent Gerald Hill told parents in an email. “During this period of time, our buildings will be closed.”
Conditions permitting, WBSD plans to return to their hybrid instruction model in grades K-8, Special Education and Oakland Early College on November 30. The district had been offering in-person learning to those students through the hybrid model.
West Bloomfield High School and Lakers Online will remain totally remote during this time period, just as they’ve been so far during this school year.
Superintendent Hill told the JN that WBSD currently has 24 teachers in quarantine because of exposure to people with COVID, and “over a hundred students” in quarantine due to exposure as well.
Michigan had another record-setting week last week for COVID-19 cases, with 20,154 newly confirmed.
This was the third record-breaking week in a row, with the week prior seeing
13,129 confirmed cases and 10,241 cases the week prior to that.
As of Saturday, the state’s total number of confirmed cases is 178,180 and total confirmed deaths is 7,340, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
“We know everyone on Team WB is doing their best when it comes to managing these unprecedented circumstances. We appreciate your support, understanding and grace as we work to ensure the safety of our students, staff and their families,” the WBSD statement read.
“We understand the extreme disappointment felt by students and staff alike as we make this decision. Support will be made available for those in need through our district counseling and wellness staff. Traditional support services such as food service distribution, technology assistance, and social-emotional support will also be available for families.”
There will be a parent webinar tonight at 7:30 p.m., where members of the district and building administration are expected to provide updates and context surrounding this decision.