Rapid COVID spread forces Glen Lake to go virtual until Thanksgiving

From staff reports

Multiple positive COVID-19 tests among parents of students at Glen Lake Community Schools has prompted the district to cease face-to-face learning until after Thanksgiving, superintendent Jon Hoover told the Glen Arbor Sun today. Students will return on Monday, November 30.

As many as 45 Glen Lake high school students didn’t show up for classes today, suggesting how widely COVID has spread among the school community.

All classes will switch to remote learning starting tomorrow.

Hoover said the 14-day quarantine period required by the Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department — plus an extra 6 days during Thanksgiving — will give time to do contact tracing.

Children of parents who test positive for the Coronavirus are considered “probable” cases and must also quarantine.

“We hit a perfect storm over the last couple days,” said Hoover. “The number of positive test results of those family members, which we were made aware of this morning, put us on a fast track to need time to contact trace.”

Hoover said he felt confident about Glen Lake’s ability to go virtual.

“We’re well prepared for the remote learning process and keeping our students and our staff safe. There’s nothing more important than keeping our community safe.”

Late last month, Glen Lake temporarily closed in-person learning for its fourth grade classes and one section of kindergarten. The school’s safety protocols inside the building include bipolar ionization filters installed in the ventilation systems.

The school’s shutdown plan includes the food service staff continuing to make meals and deliver them to families in need, as Glen Lake did in March and April after the pandemic first arrived.

COVID’s fall wave

COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing in Leelanau County, the region, the state, and the nation, as the dreaded “second wave” plays out this Fall.

The Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department reported 8 new cases in Leelanau County today, and 44 cases since last Wednesday, including a single-day record 10 cases on Sunday. (See the chart below, and view it online here.)

Other school districts in the region that have temporarily closed face-to-face instruction due to COVID, according to the Traverse City Record-Eagle, include Suttons Bay, Benzie Central, Frankfort-Elberta, Traverse City and Elk Rapids.

One possible source of COVID community spread in Northern Michigan may have been the Trump rally at Cherry Capital Airport on Monday, November 2—the day before the election—which was attended by thousands, many of whom did not wear masks. A Stanford study links Trump rallies to more than 700 COVID deaths.

Statewide, 6,473 cases were reported today, including 84 deaths, as Michigan sets records almost every single day. See the chart below, courtesy of Bridge Magazine.

Nationwide, hospitalizations reached a record-high of 61,964, putting medical facilities under strain, reported The New York Times. Approximately 1,000 Americans are dying each day of the Coronavirus.