FHS returns to virtual format following COVID-19 uptick

FLUSHING — Flushing High School has returned to a virtual format following an uptick in COVID-19 cases and recent orders from the state health department.

As part of its new emergency order, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has directed school districts across the state to suspend in-person learning for high schools and resume online classes for grades 9-12 for the next three weeks. FHS students wrapped up in-person classes on Monday and Tuesday and started with 100 percent online learning yesterday.

Before the MDHHS order, FHS students had been back in class for hybrid courses since Oct. 19. They will now resume with online classes until Dec. 22.

Meanwhile, Flushing Community Schools has decided to continue in-person classes for its K-8 students until Nov. 24. After the Thanksgiving holiday break, K-8 students will resume with fully online classes on Nov. 30 through Dec. 22.

Although the state is allowing districts to continue with hybrid classes for K-8 students, FCS Superintendent Matt Shanafelt said that temporarily returning to a fully online format for all grades will be the safest approach for students and staff.

“We are proud of the fact that we have been able to keep our students and staff members safe and in school by successfully adhering to the necessary mitigation standards within our school buildings,” he said. “Unfortunately, the increasing number of positive cases in and around our community have led to an increased number of students and staff members that have been impacted.”

Shanafelt said that a growing number of staff members and students have either tested positive for COVID-19 or have had to quarantine, making it difficult for the district to provide a safe and effective in-person learning plan.

“It is becoming more and more apparent that we simply do not have people available to fill all of our vacancies,” he said. “This decision will allow us the time to transition our K-8 hybrid students to 100 percent online, knowing we have a few more in-person meetings with students over the next week or so to help them prepare. I am hopeful that this transition time allows our families the time necessary to make childcare arrangements as well.”

According to FCS’ online COVID- 19 dashboard, 14 students and two staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 since Oct. 12. Eleven of the students who tested positive included high school students and/or high school student athletes. The other three cases include elementary students from Central, Springview and Elms elementary schools.

To see more updates on Flushing Community Schools’ instructional plans and its COVID-19 response, visit flushingschools.org.