New COVID-19 outbreaks in Washtenaw County schools may not have been spread in classrooms

Posted at 6:39 PM, May 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-10 18:39:15-04

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WXYZ) — As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in many communities, 18 schools in the Ann Arbor area are reporting new outbreaks, according to state and local data.

"School outbreaks and outbreaks in general are still running high. They've been increasing over the last month," said Susan Ringler-Cerniglia, spokesperson for the Washtenaw County Health Department.

At Emerson School, a private school located just outside Ann Arbor in Lodi Township, at least 48 cases among students and staff were reported last week, according to health officials.

Masks were not required at Emerson, but the outbreak prompted school officials to reinstate universal mask wearing.

Some of the results of COVID-19, including staff shortages, prompted classes at Emerson to be canceled Monday. And it appeared the school was closed again on Tuesday.

Across Ann Arbor Public Schools, where they have already been requiring masks, 211 students and staff tested positive for the virus last week.

It's believed much of the spread is tied to recent holiday travel, spring breaks and a general rise in cases in the community as a highly contagious subvariant of omicron continues to spread and people often gather indoors without masks.

"We are starting to see some of our more serious illness, our hospitalizations, tick up a little bit," Ringler-Cerniglia said. "Certainly, not at the level yet that we've seen in past surges, but definitely increasing a bit."