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Off-campus events lead to 75 in Northville schools to quarantine, district says

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

More than 75 Northville Public Schools students are under quarantine after they were exposed to COVID-19 through off-campus gatherings, the district announced.

This week "a few cases of probable or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Northville High School students have resulted in a large and growing number of student quarantines resulting from exposure outside of school," Superintendent Mary Gallagher said in a letter posted on Facebook on Thursday and the district website. 

"Several 'homecoming' parties, including a party bus, were reported during contact tracing, with reportedly little evidence of mask wearing or physical distancing."

Contract tracing also found that "some students who were supposed to be quarantined due to a family exposure still participated in out-of-school activities," Gallagher said.

The superintendent said there have been two positive coronavirus cases connected with the parties, which resulted in more than 75 quarantined students. "The quarantines have impacted students at Northville High School, along with siblings at our middle and elementary schools," she said. 

The district, which in the last month has transitioned to in-person instruction for those choosing it, Gallagher said, has not had any evidence of positive cases "tracing back to exposure at school or during school hours, and the number of students quarantined as a result of close contacts at school has been minimal up to this point." 

The Wayne County Public Health Division has approved the district's COVID-19 mitigation plan, and protocols remain in place at all school buildings, Gallagher said, but she advised the community to follow measures such as distancing, mask-wearing and hand-washing.

This transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19.

"We are doing all we can to keep our school buildings open and safe for students and staff," Gallagher said. "However, we can only control the mitigation practices and safety measures in place in our school buildings. We rely on our entire school community to work together to prevent the spread."

The news of the quarantines comes as virus cases surge across the state.

Michigan added 3,675 new COVID-19 cases and 41 more deaths Thursday, the most new confirmed cases in a single day during the pandemic.

The additions bring the state's total number of cases to 171,220 and total deaths to 7,298.

Last week saw the state's biggest surge of positive cases when Michigan had 13,129 confirmed, breaking the record set the week prior. The previous weekly high was 9,768 set April 5-11.