I just finished the second Zoom call of the day with other school leaders and health officials across the region and county.  As you will undoubtedly see in the news this evening, the Grand Traverse County Health Department has directed middle and high schools in the county to move to remote learning for the remainder of the week.  This decision has been made with the support and recommendation of the leadership of the Munson Healthcare system.  

The Greenspire School will accept that directive and temporarily move to remote learning from Tuesday, April 6th through Friday, April 9th.  Numbers will be reassessed at the end of the week by the health department and a decision whether or not to extend this period may not be made until Sunday afternoon or evening. 

Below is the data used to make our decision…

Cases statewide are now at 15% (highest ever).  Cases in the Traverse City Region are now 16.1% (highest ever) and cases in Grand Traverse County are now 11.4% and climbing.  The Munson Healthcare system currently has the most COVID-19 patients hospitalized ever since the pandemic started at 92.  The positivity rate in the Munson Healthcare system territory is now the highest it has been since the pandemic started at 14.4%. Grand Traverse County saw the highest number of patients aged 0-19 since the pandemic started.  That age group made up approximately 20% of all of the cases in March (highest ever), up from 12% in previous months.  Last week, there were 43 school aged cases in the county, mostly middle and high school aged children.  Just so far today, there were 10 school aged cases reported.  Compliance to quarantine protocols tends to be the lowest in the 0-19 age group, with some contact tracing calls going unanswered from families.  Student to student transmission of the virus while at school has increased in recent weeks when originally it was a very rare occurrence due to school safety protocols.  There is an increase in pediatric patients admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 across the state and the majority of school-aged children testing positive for COVID-19 are coming from the middle and high school levels.  All metrics are now higher than when we transitioned to remote learning in late-November.  

Click here for a copy of the Emergency Remote Schedule.  The links to the Zoom classes are posted in your child’s Google Classrooms.  All students have been shown since we returned in January where to find that information.  You can always reach out to the teacher with any questions.  The building will be staffed each day during the temporarily remote learning period. 

As always, you can find any of this information on our website under the Toolbox section of our website in the Middle School Resources box at this link: https://greenspireschool.org/toolbox/.  Remember that the technology@greenspireschool.org email is still available for any technology issues that your child may have while at home.  

For the fully remote students and their families, your schedule does not change.  Please continue meeting at your regular class times.  

There will be no change to parent-teacher conferences, however there will be NO afternoon classes (classes after Lunch) on Friday, April 9th due to Parent-Teacher Conferences.  The HIV/AIDS Curriculum Information Session on Wednesday evening will now be held via Zoom (link will be posted Tuesday).  Please see the website calendar for more information.  

I will be sending a less-detailed message to all students with reminders on where to find the Emergency Remote Schedule and their Zoom links for all of their classes.  

Honestly, I thought that we were going to be able to get to the end of the year without a move back to remote learning.  Unfortunately, cases have risen at such a substantial rate across the state, region, and county over the past month that our first priority, MUST be to protect the health and safety of our school community, particularly the students.  

Robert Walker, EdD