Grand Rapids-area schools can make own quarantine policies

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan (AP) – Schools in some of West Michigan’s largest counties may set their own COVID-19 quarantine guidelines, local health officials said Friday.

Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon, and Ionia counties reported that statewide orders were dropped despite recommending schools to apply state guidelines. Masks are still required.

The four health departments pointed out COVID-19 case trends in the area, vaccine availability and vaccination rates.

The Grandville district, near Grand Rapids, was quick to respond, telling families that students who may have been around someone with COVID-19 should not be quarantined at home unless they have symptoms. Siblings of the infected would have to stay at home.

The district said there have only been four cases of COVID-19 related to school exposure.

“In other words, over 98% of our positive cases did not result in a second positive case in our schools,” said Superintendent Roger Bearup.

The state health department reported 2,758 new cases and 30 more deaths across the country on Friday. The 7-day case rate was 234 per 100,000 people, still number 1 in the US but significantly lower than a few weeks ago.

The University of Michigan said it was amending a July 2020 policy requiring masks across campuses in Ann Arbor, Flint, and Dearborn. Masks are still required indoors, but not outdoors unless 100 or more people gather.

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