Staff shortages, student absences shut Reed City schools in Michigan until Monday

The Detroit News

Student absences and staff shortages have led the Reed City Area Public Schools district to close schools beginning Thursday through Monday, the district said Wednesday.

The district said it was struggling to meet a 75% attendance requirement on a daily basis. The post did not indicate how many students or staff were absent or the reasons for the absences.

The move comes two weeks after classes for the 2021 school year in the mid-Michigan district began.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued this guidance for students and schools on Wednesday.

The district is planning for virtual instruction for Friday and Monday. Extracurricular activities are not affected by the closure, and participants will be monitored for symptoms of COVID-19, the district said in a post on its website.

"After careful consideration and close communication with the Central Michigan Health Department, it has been recommended that Reed City Area Public Schools temporarily closed," the notice said. "We have significant staffing shortages at GT Norman and a sizable portion of our student population absent from school. We are struggling to meet our 75% attendance requirement across the district on a daily basis. The Health Department recommendation is to close temporarily to fully assess all reasons for absences and to provide access for antigen testing.

"The more accurate our information is regarding percentages of students and staff being Covid-19 positive helps with making decisions about health and safety," the post said.

COVID-19 testing will be offered Thursday morning; other times will be announced for Friday and Monday, the district said.

Additional closures of a building or the district "may occur after a full evaluation of currrent conditions."

State health officials reported on Tuesday 31 new Covid-19 school outbreaks, a more than three-fold increase from last week.

On Wednesday, the state health department issued guidance for asymptomatic students after schools in Michigan reopened amid concerns about a fourth surge of the virus.

On Wednesday, Michigan reported 1,293 adults hospitalized with the virus, a number below past spikes but the highest reported since late May.

The state has reported 13,125 new cases over the last week, a 3% decrease from the total the previous seven days.