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COVID surge making for a bumpy start to 2022 for Michigan schools

Many Michigan schools are struggling to restart this week as the state sees a surge in COVID-19 cases.

On Monday, the state health department reported Michigan is averaging just over 12,000 new COVID cases a day.

The surge prompted some school districts to delay reopening, or go virtual this week.

Lansing Public Schools choose the latter.

Ben Shuldiner is the superintendent of Lansing public schools. He just took over as the head of the Capitol city’s public school district last summer.

Shuldiner says about 10% percent of district employees tested positive for COVID this week.

“We now feel comfortable that when we test our folks again on Thursday, we’re going to have a really good understanding of how many people are going to be able to show up on January 10 next Monday,” said Shuldiner on Stateside today.

He says the district is leaning on its COVID response team, comprised of nurses and medical assistants.

“If a child is positive...we start to do the contact tracing (of teachers and students),” said Shuldiner. He says parents will be notified and walked through the process of getting their child back in school.

He says district policy would require children potentially exposed to be tested five days later (teachers and school staff it’s three days). If they pass the rapid test, they can return to the classroom.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.