Ingham County Health Department advises local districts to transition to remote learning for a week


An MSU student walks alone through the campus of Michigan State/Photo Credit: MSU University Communications

Nathan Stearns, News Director

EAST LANSING— With many local middle and high school students going on spring break, combined with rapidly rising cases of COVID-19 across the state, the Ingham County Health Department is strongly advising for local schools to transition to online learning over the week of April 12.

Although not a direct order, the department is also campaigning for rapid PCR resting for students who are returning from spring break. Currently, rapid testing for returning travelers is available through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday, April 11 and Wednesday, April 14 at the Ingham Intermediate School District’s campus in Mason.

“Looking at our percent positivity, case numbers and hospitalizations, I am deeply concerned,” Ingham County Health Officer Linda S. Vail said. “That said, looking at our vaccination rates, I am really hopeful. We are at a turning point in the pandemic. By keeping students home from school an extra week and using rapid testing to screen travelers, we could turn the tide in our favor.”

From the week of March 22-28, nine people died of COVID-19 in Ingham County, the highest mark since January. In addition, the percent positivity rate of 15.2% is the highest mark in nearly a year. The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Ingham County has also risen by nearly 300% in the past four weeks.

These statistics come in the midst of a sizeable COVID-19 surge across Michigan that saw nearly 11,300 new cases on Monday. Mutating variants of the coronavirus, including the B.1.1.7 virus, have quickly spread throughout the state; several of these new variants are more contagious and potentially more dangerous than the original COVID-19 strain.