Metro Detroit districts facing challenges as more students catch COVID-19 outside of school

COVID-19 cases are rising in schools and in many instances, students are catching the virus outside of school.

"Children are having sleepovers, for example, or students are participating in dance recitals that had been either canceled or postponed earlier in the year," said Dr. Steve Matthews, the superintendent of the Novi Community School District. "They’re just around more people outside of school."

Matthews stressed that the district has not identified any in-school transmission. He did add that a student exposed outside the classroom came to school with symptoms. The student was sent home and later tested positive. 

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"Then it becomes a quarantine issue. Who was that student around during the day? Then we had to quarantine those students that that positive student had been around and exposed during the day," he said.

Matthews also said the district has quarantined two high school sports teams and a classroom because of exposure. That's about 50 students who needed to be quarantined, he said.

Two high school sports teams in Novi had to be quarantined.

Dr. Calandra Green with the Oakland County Health Division said they are working with schools after seeing more sports-related COVID-19 cases. 

"They’ve been very supportive in helping to close, cancel games, identify not only their student-athletes that have tested positive or have been exposed as well as opposing teams," Green said.

In Waterford, high school students are returning to remote learning through March 26 because of an increase in cases. 

The Detroit Public Schools Community District is also dealing with an influx of cases spread outside of the classroom.

More: Michigan COVID-19 numbers -- Rates similar to October as cases continue to climb

In a statement, the district said, "We believe this is connected to teenagers spending more time at each other's houses and society interacting more. We also believe people have been more relaxed with social distancing and the availability of the vaccine."

Matthews said he hopes families take proper precautions with spring break approaching.

"Part of me is hopeful that parents will take this seriously and students will and recognize if they want to continue to be in school, that they need to be safe over spring break," he said.