Grand Rapids-area schools can make own quarantine policies

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FILE – This Tuesday, April 26, 2016 file photo shows The Associated Press logo in New York. The Associated Press has pulled out of its planned coverage of Wednesday’s CMA Awards show due to a dispute over photographs of the broadcast. (AP Photo/Hiro Komae, File)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Schools in some of western Michigan’s largest counties can make their own COVID-19 quarantine policies, local health departments said Friday.

Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon and Ionia counties said countywide orders have been dropped, although they recommend that schools use state guidelines. Masks still are required.

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

The Grandville district, near Grand Rapids, reacted quickly by telling families that students who might have been near someone with COVID-19 will not have to quarantine at home unless they have symptoms. Siblings of the infected would need to stay home.

The district said it’s had only four cases of COVID-19 that were linked to exposure at school.

“Put another way, over 98% of our positive cases have not resulted in a second positive case within our schools,” Superintendent Roger Bearup said.

The state health department, meanwhile, reported 2,758 new cases statewide Friday and 30 additional deaths. The seven-day case rate was 234 per every 100,000 people, still No. 1 in the U.S. but significantly lower than just a few weeks ago.

The University of Michigan said it’s changing a July 2020 policy that required masks anywhere on campuses in Ann Arbor, Flint and Dearborn. Masks still are necessary indoors but not outdoors unless there’s a gathering of 100 people or more.

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