Students at Troy, Athens high schools will finish out week with remote learning due to COVID-19

No other schools in district are impacted

TROY, Mich. – Starting Wednesday, all students at Troy High School and Athens High School will be learning remotely from home. There will be no in-person classes at either school for the rest of the week.

That includes all specialized instructional programs. No other schools in the district are impacted yet. The other Troy School District will continue with their existing schedule for the rest of the week.

READ: Tracking coronavirus cases, outbreaks in Michigan schools

Kerry Birmingham, Director of Communications & Strategic Initiatives for the Troy School District released the following letter to parents:

"As the number of COVID cases in our community rises, we have run into significant staffing challenges, as many of our teachers have been forced to quarantine due to exposure to positive cases. This has been particularly difficult at our two large high schools, Athens and Troy High.

For the past four days, we have had substantially more high school teachers out at each building than we have substitutes available to fill. This has resulted in in-seat students at AHS and THS being assigned to large areas in the building, where they participate in virtual instruction on their iPads, under the supervision of a single staff member. This is not a positive experience for our students, and it is not sustainable over time.

We need to regroup and determine whether there is another way to manage the staffing challenge that gives students a better experience. For the remainder of this week, all students at Troy High and Athens will learn in a virtual setting from their homes. No in-seat instruction will take place at either school tomorrow or Thursday (on Friday there is no school at the secondary level because it’s the end of the marking period). This includes all specialized instructional programs.

No other schools are impacted at this time. All other TSD buildings will continue with their existing schedule for the remainder of the week.

Health data shows us that our school buildings are safe places to learn. The mitigation efforts we have put into place are working, and though we are seeing increases in cases coming in, we have been successful in most instances in stopping spread within our schools.

However, the data has significantly worsened outside of our schools. There were more than 800 new cases last week in Oakland County and our percentage of positive tests (which measures spread within the community) has risen several percentage points since we started at the end of September. We have been informed that the State of Michigan has moved Oakland County to Risk Level “E,” the highest risk level available using their metrics.

On Thursday, we will get a new set of weekly data from the Oakland County Health Division. Our team will study that carefully, with guidance from the Health Division, and use it to make decisions on any next steps within our District, for both the large high schools and potentially all schools and programs, Kindergarten through 12th grade.

We understand that this information is concerning to many families, but our commitment to keep you informed at all stages of this situation is unwavering. We will communicate with families at the end of the week with an update and any adjustments that we need to make moving forward."

READ: More return to school coverage

About the Author:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.