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Lakeshore Elementary temporarily closes, one positive COVID-19 case

Published: Sep. 29, 2020 at 5:14 PM EDT
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STEVENSVILLE, Mich. (WNDU) - When the Lakeshore Public School District was told Friday that a teacher at Stewart Elementary tested positive for COVID-19, they began working with the Berrien County Health Department and found 20 students and 10 staff members were potentially exposed.

“Because of the number of staff that were exposed, we decided that we needed to take some time to make sure we could find substitute employees to work in those positions, and also to develop plans of how to best continue our educational services to our students,” Superintendent Philip Freeman said.

The elementary closed for two days, but students will be able to return to the classroom Wednesday.

In the class with the positive test, those students will be learning remotely from their teacher for the next two weeks.

In the classes where only the teacher is quarantined, students will have a live stream in their classroom from their teacher while supervised by a substitute.

“It’s really important for us to continue to provide the best opportunities for our kids, to have face-to-face instruction, as much as possible,” Freeman said.

Along with the health department’s safety recommendations in the classroom, they are also encouraging self-screening at home before the start of each school day.

“We do not want people going to work, to school, to any social gatherings or activities if they’re feeling any sort of symptoms at all. When in doubt, sit it out. It’s better not to take the risk of getting other people sick,” Berrien County Health Department Communications Manager Gillian Conrad said.

Because Stewart Elementary only had one positive case, they did not meet the definition of having an outbreak, which is two or more cases in a school linked through common exposure at that school.

“We know that cases within the school settings were inevitable. And it really does not reflect poorly on the schools that COVID cases might have popped up. This is, in no way, shape or form, the fault of any school or district,” Conrad said.

“We’re providing the best opportunities for our students as we possibly can, in the safest environment that we possibly can. It’s an all-hands-on-deck situation for us, and people have really stepped up,” Freeman said.

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