LANSING, Mich. – With COVID-19 cases high and many students traveling this week for spring break, the Ingham County Health Department is strongly recommending that local schools avoid in-person instruction for students in grades 6-12 for the week of April 12.
The one-week pause on in-person learning for middle and high school students should be combined with rapid testing for students who traveled during spring break. While not compulsory, the recommendation could be critical to the county, which has seen alarming increases in COVID-19 activity over the past month.
“Looking at our percent positivity, case numbers and hospitalizations, I am deeply concerned,” said Ingham County Health Officer Linda S. Vail. “That said, looking at our vaccination rates I am really hopeful. We are at a turning point in the pandemic. By keeping students home from school an extra week and using rapid testing to screen travelers, we could turn the tide in our favor.”
COVID-19 increases informed the decision to issue the strong recommendation including:
- Ingham County just observed its highest number of weekly COVID-19 deaths since January. Nine people died due to COVID-19 March 22-28. In the four weeks prior, there were two deaths per week on average.
- The percent positivity rate is at 15.2%. This is the highest the county has seen since April 2020.
- The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has increased roughly 300% in the past four weeks. There are currently 150 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Ingham County.
Rapid testing for returning travelers is offered by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday, April 11 and Wednesday, April 14 at the Ingham Intermediate School District’s campus in Mason. This event is open to the public and pre-registration is strongly recommended. For more information and to register, visit: https://www.inghamisd.org/Core/News/Article/32323. School districts may have additional guidance or testing events following spring break.