Forest Hills Northern goes virtual only due to COVID-19 case

 mlive.com  10/18/2020 22:30:11   Ryan Boldrey | rboldrey@mlive.com

GRAND RAPIDS, MI  Forest Hills Northern High School will be closed for in-person learning for at least three days this week after a third student tested positive for the coronavirus in less than a week.

According to a letter sent Sunday afternoon to families of students at the school by District Superintendent Dan Behm, classes will be held virtually only Monday, Oct. 19 through Wednesday, Oct. 21.

In addition to the student who tested positive, the letter states that there were 27 other students who were considered close contacts to the students and will need to quarantine for the next two weeks.

The letter stated that the district is also aware of social gatherings that took place over the weekend involving groups of students.

"Some of these students are close contacts with the student who tested positive, Behm wrote.

Operating classes in a virtual format for the next three days will allow us additional time to determine if any additional positive cases result from these social events outside of school. This will also reduce the likelihood of any additional close contacts needing to quarantine for 14 days.

Principal Jon Gregory was expected to follow up with families Sunday with details about the virtual schedule for the next three days, Behm said.

The district said it will monitor conditions over the next three days and decide on Wednesday what the instructional format we will be for Thursday and Friday. The decision will be communicated with families Wednesday afternoon.

Families with students who test positive for COVID-19 are asked to contact Northern High School. As well, if any family or household member is awaiting test results for COVID-19, all students in the family are asked to remain home from school until test results are known.

We know that this announcement comes with short notice, but our priority is to keep everyone safe and to avoid disruptions to many more families that could come from lengthy quarantine periods, Behm said in the letter.

In addition to the most recent case, a Forest Hills Northern staff member reportedly tested positive on Oct. 12, and two students, one on Oct. 13 and one on Oct. 14, were also reported to have tested positive, according to data provided by the Kent County Health Department.

All other schools in the Forest Hills School District will be open for in-person classes this week, district spokesperson Elizabeth Brink confirmed with MLive.

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