School districts take steps to guard against coronavirus threat

"It's unprecedented times and I think all of us are scrambling to come up with a plan," said Dr. Robert Shaner, Superintendent of Rochester Community Schools.

Schools districts across Metro Detroit working to get in front of the coronavirus making sure plans are in place if confirmed cases impact their district.

"We had meeting this morning to talk about local response," Shaner said. "I have a meeting with the mayor of Rochester Hills and some other municipal leaders to discuss plans moving forward I've also been in touch with folks in Lansing as well." 

On Tuesday in Lansing, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the creation of four committees that will work to combat the spread of coronavirus. One of the four committees will focus on combating the virus at public schools, universities and colleges. 

"It's something we're going to work closely with our state, local and federal authorities," Shaner said. 

Rochester Community Schools says they've also adjusted some of their policies.

"We have paused our attendance incentives, we are not doing perfect attendance awards," Shaner said. "We have paused our high school attendance incentive with our exams."

Some school districts are also looking at options like on-line education. If schools have to shut down

"These are unprecedented times. It will require a ton of work and patience," he said.

The Michigan Department of Education also reminding school communities about following CDC guidelines regarding hand washing and cleaning surfaces.

"We've also made plans to make sure everything is disinfectant including buses," Shaner said. "We were also able to secure five machines that can go into a building that has a germ in it and we can use the machine to spray the building down."

School officials say it's crucial that as governments and school districts prepare to respond to coronavirus they remember where the priority should be.

"We have to keep the main thing, the main thing - that is kids," he said.