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Ann Arbor’s Burns Park Elementary goes remote amid rise in COVID cases

Temporary pause of in-person learning aimed at curbing virus spread, district says

Burns Park Elementary School in Ann Arbor (WDIV)
Burns Park Elementary School in Ann Arbor (WDIV)

ANN ARBOR – All grades at Burns Park Elementary shifted to remote learning this week after more than 20 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed among K-5th grade students, Ann Arbor Public Schools Superintendent Jeanice Swift announced in a letter to the school community on Tuesday.

“This sudden acceleration of cases across several grades is very concerning,” wrote Swift.

After consulting with the Washtenaw County Health Department, AAPS leadership decided to place five classrooms with several cases into quarantine. The remaining students -- some of which are in classrooms with one COVID case -- transitioned to remote learning for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Swift said the decision was made to shift the entire school community to quarantine or remote learning due to the number of identified cases, the acceleration of cases over a short period of time, numerous pending COVID tests and increased student absences.

“Implementing a temporary pause on in-school gathering among our Burns Park Elementary School community is a next-step mitigation measure to stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure a healthy and safe return to school,” wrote Swift, who said students and staff would be returning to school on or after Monday, Oct. 18.

At this time, the situation at Burns Park has not been declared an outbreak by the Health Department, which is currently investigating whether transmission occurred within the school, said district officials.

The move comes one week after Pittsfield Elementary went remote due to an outbreak of COVID cases.

It was the first AAPS school to experience an outbreak during the current school year, defined as “three cases within a subset of school-associated cases where the most likely place of exposure is determined to be the school setting or a school-sanctioned extracurricular activity.”

Pittsfield students and staff returned to in-person learning on Monday.

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About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.