Tracking COVID outbreaks in Michigan schools, colleges

COVID-19 data released for schools

Michigan is tracking coronavirus outbreaks in schools across the state.

From the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services:

In order to promote consistent reporting amongst states, MDHHS has adopted the updated national Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists’ (CSTE) Standardized COVID-19 K-12 School Surveillance Guidance for Classification of Clusters and Outbreaks.

In accordance with these CSTE definitions:

  • A K-12 school-associated COVID-19 case (confirmed or probable) is defined as a student, teacher, or staff member physically present in the school setting or participated in a school sanctioned extracurricular† activity within 14 days prior to illness onset (or a positive test result) OR within 10 days after illness onset (or a positive test result).
  • A K-12 school-associated cluster is defined as an educational institution that has been found by their local health department to have multiple cases comprising at least 10% of students, teachers, or staff, within a specified core group OR at least three (3) cases within a specified core group meeting criteria for a probable or confirmed school-associated COVID-19 case with symptom onset or positive test result within 14 days of each other, AND no likely known epidemiologic link to a case outside of the school setting. COVID-19 cases who may have shared exposure on school grounds and are from different households are included. Case counts for school-related outbreaks include those associated with before and after school programs (e.g., school-sponsored sports, etc.).
  • A K-12 school-associated outbreak is defined as an educational institution that has been found by their local health department to have multiple cases comprising at least 10% of students, teachers, or staff, within a specified core group OR at least three (3) cases within a specified core group meeting criteria for a probable or confirmed school-associated COVID-19 case with symptom onset or positive test result within 14 days of each other; who were not identified as close contacts of each other in another setting (i.e. household) outside of the school setting; AND epidemiologically linked in the school setting or a school-sanctioned extracurricular activity. COVID-19 cases who may have shared exposure on school grounds and are from different households are included. Case counts for school-related outbreaks include those associated with before and after school programs (e.g., school-sponsored sports, etc.).

A school-associated outbreak classification relies on confirming exposure linkages between cases, while a school-associated cluster classification accounts for cases where a definitive exposure linkage has not been established.

Sept. 27, 2021 outbreak definition changes:

This new surveillance definition, described above, will be applied going forward (as of 9/27/2021). The new surveillance definition will not be applied to historical data. The previous definition had a lower outbreak definition threshold; requiring 2 or more COVID-19 cases associated with a school. The new outbreak definition threshold may exclude some circumstances, which previously met the definition. In addition, the data may shift based on current COVID-19 activity in the county.

If your institution is listed, the local health department and school are investigating the outbreak and will contact you directly if you (or your minor/child) were possibly exposed to coronavirus on the school grounds. Please note that students or staff who were exposed to COVID-19 outside of school grounds AND are not thought to have spread the disease on the school grounds (due to quarantine, self-isolation, etc.) are not included in the tables below.

Many factors, including the lack of ability to conduct effective contact tracing in certain settings, may result in underreporting of outbreaks. This information does not provide a complete picture of school outbreaks in Michigan and the absence of identified outbreaks in a school does not mean it is not experiencing an outbreak.

Michigan COVID-19 outbreaks in schools (updated on Monday):

(New outbreaks are those outbreaks that were first identified during the current reporting week. Ongoing outbreaks are those that had already been identified in previous weeks but have had at least one new associated case reported to the local health department in the last 28 days. New and ongoing outbreaks are counted only once (i.e., a new outbreak is not also counted in the ongoing outbreak category). Outbreaks will be removed for the list when there are no new confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases identified after 28 days have passed since the last known school exposure from a case.)

Wearing a mask (covering mouth and nose), social distancing (maintaining a distance of 6 feet apart), frequent hand-washing (using soap for 20 seconds or hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol), and following capacity restrictions of social gatherings are some of the most effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19. If you, or someone close to you, are sick or have symptoms, you can get tested.


About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter.