Farmington delays in-person learning as COVID cases jump

Farmington Public Schools Superintendent Bob Herrera notified parents Monday that rising Oakland County COVID-19 cases will delay a return to in-person learning.

Elementary students will stay in remote learning until at least November 16, a week later than planned. Those in special education and early childhood programs who were already in buildings will also return to remote learning starting November 4.

The district sent parents a note on Friday confirming a November 9 start date, but information received late Friday from Oakland County changed the picture. Herrera explained Monday that:

“… Oakland County’s risk category within one week moved from a Level C to a Level E. Level C allows for in-person with strict mitigation measures. 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.”

The county will be taking “more of an active role” in guiding districts, he added.

Infection and positive test rates, and cases per million – data considered as district officials make in-person learning decisions – have all risen steadily since mid-October. Six FPS COVID cases, all contracted outside school buildings, have been identified since October 19, with 22 contacts identified and quarantined.

Cases tracked within FPS district boundaries have risen from 111 diagnosed between early and mid-October to 186 between October 15 and 28.

Middle and high school students are not affected by the delay. Trustees voted last month to keep them in remote learning until January 25.

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