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Prudence, Planning, and a Pandemic

October 22nd, 2020

Dear Families,

As you are almost certainly aware, the number of COVID-19 positive cases is on the rise in Kent County. Kent County Health Department recently shared the following information with schools:

Our numbers of people testing positive that are related to schools is rising. Our middle school and high school numbers are significantly higher than the elementary numbers. The rate of positive cases in elementary age children is about half of the rate for people age 12-17 years (both nationally and in Kent County).

Through our contact tracing, we are seeing very limited transmission of the virus from the classroom setting. Most of the new infections among students can be traced to social activities and sports activities.

The number of close contacts which have to be placed in quarantine is rising. During the month of September, the average number of close contacts per positive case of COVID-19 was 6.4. During the week of October 11-15, the average number of close contacts per positive case was 9.3.

Dozens of school superintendents across Kent, Ottawa, and Muskegon counties are appealing to their districts to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines outside of school, and I am making a similar plea. (You will find their letter and a related article on the local news.) Regardless of your political convictions, your stance on government orders and individual rights, or your opinions about coronavirus, our ability to keep children in the classroom depends on you doing your best to keep them healthy and, when not healthy, keeping them home.

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