Spike in COVID cases prompts closure of SCHS during Homecoming week

SWARTZ CREEK — Just as Swartz Creek High School students and staff were gearing up for Spirit Week, COVID-19 reared its ugly head and put a damper on what was left of the traditional pre-homecoming festivities.

Superintendent Ben Mainka announced Tuesday administrators would close the high school and shift all high school classes to an online format at least through Monday.

The closure comes after six students tested positive for COVID 19. In each case, the student likely contracted the virus from someone outside of school, Mainka said.

So far this school year, cases of students being exposed to the virus have been reported at each building and students have had to quarantine; but this is the first instance of a complete school closure.

Mainka said there have been no positive cases in K-5 students, although a staff member at Morrish Elementary School tested positive, as well as a student at the middle school.

“So, the vast majority of our cases are coming from the child who may have contracted it from grandma, or they were at a bonfire, or a church event, or something like that,” he said. “We are very happy with the fact that we don’t appear to have any large-scale transmission (within the schools).”

Reactions from parents were mixed.

“My son is in the 10th grade,” said Monica Morrison. “I asked how he felt about it, and he said, ‘I just want to go to school.’ I am questioning why sports activities are continuing while the school is closed to deep clean.”

David Sanders, whose daughter is a senior and attending online, said he supports measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

“I’m glad that they are taking … the health and safety of the community seriously,” he said.

Mainka said he hopes that such closures will not become the norm, but as cases spike, there will be times when it will be necessary.

During the closure, sanitation crews will be deep cleaning.

As for Homecoming, it will look a little different this year. The king and queen will be crowned at the winter celebration, instead of the Homecoming game.

Spirit week will resume at the high school next week.