Hastings High School moved to remote learning for two weeks Monday after a teacher tested positive for COVID-19, exposing another eight teachers to the virus and causing a staff shortage.
“We had one staff member who tested positive, right. But that resulted in eight other staff members being designated close contacts,” Hastings Superintendent Dan Remenap said. “So, it really became a substitute shortage [rather] than a COVID-19 outbreak.”
“The school is not considered a transmission hot spot, by any means.”
The staff member in question did not test positive until Sunday, giving little time to make the transition to remote learning.
While getting the entirety of the high school set up for online learning presented challenges, Remenap said staff had been preparing for the possibility.
“It’s a challenge, but frankly, it is a challenge that we anticipated, and our staff did a great job preparing for this,” Remenap said. “It’s been relatively seamless, but we’ll see how things go the next two weeks.”
In a post to the high school’s Facebook page Sunday evening, Principal Teresa Heide emphasized the importance of students participating in remote learning over the next two weeks.
“During this time, it is very important to understand that teaching and learning will continue every day and students are expected to be engaged with your teachers,” Heide wrote. “Please know, too, that attendance will be taken … It is expected that students attend their scheduled Zoom meetings with their teachers. Please be in communication with your teachers, should you have questions.”
Heide also noted SAT and PSAT testing scheduled for this week has been canceled.
However, the counseling department is working to schedule testing dates during this two-week period for the 35 seniors who have yet to test, Remenap said. Testing for underclassman will not take place until students return to in-person learning Nov. 9.
Sports and co-curricular activities will continue as scheduled.
Remenap noted that administrators are working with the high school’s food service to provide students in need with breakfast and lunch during remote learning.
At Thornapple Kellogg Middle School, in-person classes were canceled Tuesday. All day and evening activities at the school also were canceled.
“The cancelation was due to providing more time for COVID-19 contact tracing,” Thornapple Kellogg Schools interim Superintendent Dan Takens said.
Barry-Eaton District Health Department spokeswoman Sarah Surna said one active case of COVID-19 was reported at the middle school.
Classes resumed at TKMS Wednesday. As of Wednesday, no other COVID-related issues were reported at any of the district’s schools, Takens said.
In Delton Kellogg schools, Superintendent Kyle Corlett Monday reported that a central office staff member had tested positive for COVID-19, while another staff member in the central office was being monitored.
Corlett said the district had a remote-learning teacher test positive, too. However, that individual was quarantined 10 days before the positive test, so the individual had not been on campus for more than two weeks and have not been in contact with any students.
Tuesday, Corlett said a support staff member at the high school had tested positive for COVID-19, and Wednesday, he said a first-grade student and a sixth-grade student had tested positive.
In a letter to families, Corlett said that if a student was considered a “close contact” with either of the students who tested positive, parents or guardians would be contacted directly.
In a video message to parents Wednesday afternoon, Corlett said, given the close-natured interaction among first graders, the first-grade class the student was in would be closed for the remainder of the week.
“We’re not going to overreact and shut everything down over one or two cases,” Corlett told parents, “because we’re confident our protocols are working.”
Students affected by the shift were set to receive remote instruction for the rest of the week. Those students are scheduled to return to school Monday after their classroom has been deep-cleaned, Corlett said.
District officials are confident that the cases reported at Delton Kellogg are not connected, Corlett said.
We’ve been very fortunate so far,” Corlett said. “Our safety protocols have really worked preventing any spread, and those who have been in close contact with anybody they think may have COVID have done a good job of quarantining and getting tested.
“Parents have been doing a great job at keeping their sick kids home,” he added.
Staff writers Greg Chandler and Luke Froncheck contributed to this article.