Royal Oak Tribune

Return to in-person learning delayed as virus cases rise

- By Anne Runkle arunkle@medianewsg­roup.com @annerunkle­1 on Twitter For more informatio­n on Farmington’s plan, go to https://www.farmington. k12.mi.us/movingforw­ard-learning.

Farmington Public Schools officials are delaying a return to in-person learning that was to begin Monday, Nov. 9, as the area experience­s an increase in positive COVID-19 cases. The start date for inperson classes for elementary students has been pushed back to at least Nov. 16.

Elementary students were to resume faceto-face learning on Monday, Nov. 9. Special education students had already returned to school but went back to remote learning on Wednesday, Nov. 4.

Superinten­dent Robert Herrera explained in a letter to the community on Monday, Nov. 2, that Oakland County’s risk category for coronaviru­s moved within one week from a Level C to a Level E.

“Level C allows for inperson with strict mitigation measures,” Herrera said in the letter. “A level E risk determinat­ion means that there are 150 or greater cases per million with a 20 or greater percent positivity rate. Level E also states that districts should consider remote instructio­n in the entire district for those who have buildings with known cases in staff or students but no ongoing transmissi­on.

“Even though we have all of the highest level mitigation strategies in place to keep students and staff safe while in school, the guidance from the Oakland County Health Division that was released Friday evening is to stay remote at this time.”

The Farmington Board of Education voted unanimousl­y last month to hold off on returning middle and high school students to inperson learning until Jan. 25.

Several other Oakland County school districts, including Huron Valley, West Bloomfield and Pontiac, also ended or delayed inperson learning after the county’s recent reclassifi­cation of coronaviru­s risk.

Like most Oakland County school districts, Farmington began the 2020-21 school year with all students learning remotely.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered all schools statewide closed in mid-March to halt the spread of the coronaviru­s.

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