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Wayne County health division urges schools to go online through Jan. 15

The Detroit News

The Wayne County Public Health Division issued a "strong recommendation" Friday urging all schools in the county to switch entirely to online learning through Jan. 15 in response to a steep climb in coronavirus infections.

The guidance came as Wayne County and Michigan recorded record numbers of new COVID-19 cases Friday — 1,170 in the county outside Detroit and 9,779 statewide.

Since Sunday, Wayne County has reported 4,185 new cases.

“We have reached a point in the pandemic that we hoped the county would never see,” Wayne County Executive Warren Evans said in a statement. “This advisory is the strongest recommendation we can issue at this time to help prevent further spread of COVID-19.”

The division cited colder temperatures and concerns about hospitals reaching patient capacity, as well as the possibility of children spreading the virus without having symptoms.

“We are working extremely closely with our school districts to prevent further spread,” said Dr. Mouhanad Hammami, Wayne County chief health strategist. “It is our intent to keep schools, its staff and students safe from COVID-19.”

Numerous Metro Detroit school districts have moved from in-person or hybrid learning to fully remote classes as COVID-19 cases have climbed this fall. Detroit Public Schools Community District went all-online starting this week; earlier this month, districts in in Grosse Pointe, Berkley and Bloomfield Hills made the change. 

For more information, residents can call (734) 287-7870, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday or visit the county's COVID-19 information page at www.waynecounty.com/covid19.