EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been edited to clarify that Washtenaw County currently is in the medium “community level” and not community transmission.
ANN ARBOR, MI – A K-8 school in Ann Arbor for academically gifted students canceled classes Monday, May 9, due to an uptick in teachers and students testing positive for COVID-19.
Emerson School made the announcement, urging faculty and staff who hadn’t received a positive COVID-19 diagnosis in the past 90 days to test for COVID-19 at the school on Monday. All teachers, staff and students must have a negative COVID-19 test to return to in-person classes Tuesday.
The uptick in positive cases left the school without enough teachers, with an increasing number needing to quarantine, Emerson Interim Head of School Ed Hollinger said.
Emerson, which enrolls a little more than 300 students, anticipates having in-person classes again Tuesday, Hollinger said, while noting the school was open Monday for other operations and still planned to have its track team participate in an outdoor meet.
“Basically it’s a matter of precaution,” Hollinger said. “We did have a little bit of an uptick in our staff who tested positive and we’re just having a hard time finding substitutes to fill classes. We think we can staff everything effectively the rest of the week.”
The recent uptick in cases in Washtenaw County has also caused the school to reinstate a universal indoor masking policy “for the foreseeable future” until either the number of new cases per 100,000 residents or the case positivity rate in Washtenaw County moves out of the “high” category according to the MI Safe Start Map. Masking will remain optional outdoors.
According to the CDC, however, Washtenaw County currently is in the medium community level. Washtenaw County Health Department Spokesperson Susan Ringler-Cerniglia said if the county moves to a “high” community level, it would recommend universal indoor masking.