Lansing, Mich. (WLNS) — K-12 schools including before/after school programs logged their lowest number of COVID-19 outbreaks in a month, state data shows.
During the week of Dec. 3-10, a total of 25 new COVID-19 outbreaks were identified in K-12 school settings.
About a month ago, the number of outbreaks was almost double what it was last week, showing a 57 percent decrease in new outbreaks.
On Dec. 7, Gov. Whitmer announced the state was extending a health order enforcing virus restrictions in the state for 12 more days.
That order keeps high schools and college in-person learning closed and K-8 schools open.
Gov. Whitmer’s extended order then received backlash from Catholic High School parents.
On Dec. 7, Catholic families and schools in the Diocese of Lansing in a response filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the order by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to keep high schools closed for another 12 days.
The group said the order goes into place without any guaranteed date for re-opening and alleges the order is “scientifically, educationally and constitutionally unjustified.”
Tom Maloney, Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Lansing spoke out.
“Today’s order confirms our fear that MDHHS will continue to make decisions about closing schools, and in our specific case Catholic schools, without regard to the obvious and proven efficacy of our local COVID-19 school safety plans nor the uniqueness of our mission-based schools which are protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution – therefore we support our families and schools in challenging this decision in court.”
Despite the backlash, the extension of the high school closures matches up with the decrease in COVID-19 cases among K-12 schools in the week of Dec. 3-10.
In the week of Dec. 3-7, four of the 25 school outbreaks occurred in high schools while the other 21 outbreaks occurred at elementary and middle schools, including religious private schools and a transition center. You can view each individual school here.