By Harold C. Ford
It’s been a school year unlike any other in several generations.
Flint Community Schools’ (FCS) off-again/on-again face-to-face instruction inside its school buildings is off-again. FCS Assistant Superintendent Kevelin Jones announced on April 6 that all FCS students would return to remote/online instruction starting Monday, April 12. Additionally, FCS will pause all athletic programs as well. [Jones’ statement is reprinted in its entirety below.]
The indefinite return to remote learning only is in response to the spike of pandemic positivity rates in Michigan and in the City of Flint.
“The most recent data shows a 19.9 percent positivity rate for COVID-19 in the City of Flint,” according to the statement by Jones. “In partnership with the health community, we have determined that positivity rates should fall below double digits in order to have scholars in school.”
Michigan’s per capita (per person) COVID-19 rate leads the nation. And Flint’s 19.9 percent positivity rate is higher than the state’s seven-day average of 15.5 percent. Positivity rates are increasing among all age groups through age 59. Conversely, for Michiganders 65 years and older, hospitalizations have significantly declined due to widespread vaccinations in that age group.
COVID-19 vaccines are now available to all persons in Michigan who are 16 years and older.
FCS joins many other school districts in Michigan that have paused face-to-face instruction including Detroit, Hamtramck, and Carman-Ainsworth.
At the Michigan.gov Coronavirus website, some 82 schools and school districts had announced “new school outbreaks” while another 238 districts reported “ongoing school outbreaks.” The website reporting these numbers is updated on Mondays at 3 p.m.
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Statement by FCS Assistant Superintendent Kevelin Jones can be read by clicking this link or read below:
April 6, 2021
Dear Families –
As you know, the safety and well-being of our school community is our primary concern, and we continue to rely on the recommendations of medical and public health professionals to make informed decisions. To that end, Flint Community Schools will pause in-person learning and all athletics programs starting Monday, April 12, 2021 until further notice. All scholars will resume distance learning while we work with the health community to monitor positive COVID-19 cases and the transmission rate in the City of Flint closely.
The most recent data shows a 19.9% positivity rate for COVID-19 in the City of Flint. In partnership with the health community, we have determined that positivity rates should fall below double digits in order to have scholars in school. As you know, any decisions regarding a return to in-person learning will require ongoing discussions with the Board of Education, district leadership and our staff, and we will keep you informed as those conversations move forward.
We are proud to report that, during the time when scholars reported in-person, there was no spread of COVID-19 in our school buildings. The positivity rate is reflective of spread of COVID-19 in the community. With that in mind, we encourage you to have conversations with your child about continuing to follow all safety guidelines recommended by the health department.
We apologize for any inconvenience this causes. We know these adjustments to schedules can be difficult and we will work with our families to make the transition as seamless as possible.
When we do resume hybrid learning, we will be continue to adhere to all of the health and safety guidelines outlined in our Safe Return and Recovery Plan, which was developed with the input of administrators, teachers, staff, community partners, Board of Education members, union representatives and parents. It is our belief that this plan will guide the continued academic, social and emotional growth of our scholars while maintaining, first and foremost, our commitment to safety and well-being.
We hope to resume some sense of normalcy soon and are eager for our scholars’ return. Thank you for your continued commitment to Flint Community Schools and for remaining Flint Focused. Please contact your building principal with any questions you may have.
Your partner in education,
Flint Community Schools
EVM Education Beat reporter, Harold Ford, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.