The Grand Rapids Public School District has decided to continue with virtual learning for all of its classes until Jan. 4.
According to a joint statement released by Dr. Leadriane Roby, superintendent of Grand Rapids Public Schools, Kristian Grant, president of the Grand Rapids Board of Education and Mary Bouwense, president of the Grand Rapids Education Association, their decision was based on an increase of coronavirus cases in Kent County.
“Since the start of school, we have been monitoring the data and seeking guidance and direction from the state and county health authorities as we prepared for the implementation of our hybrid in-person instruction which was slated to start on Oct. 26,” per the statement. “On Friday, the Kent County Health Department issued a public health bulletin announcing that the positivity rate for the county is up to 4.5% which is “a significant increase from previous weeks”.
The health department stated that the county is exceeding 150 cases per million and local hospitals are at capacity with both COVID and non-COVID patients.
“We have said all along that the science and data will drive our decision making,” per the statement. “The reality is the data is headed in the wrong direction for Kent County and the back and forth with potential closings will be more disruptive than just staying virtual now.
“We want to assure students and families that we will continue to find ways to strengthen and improve the virtual learning experience and the supports for all students, particularly those with the greatest needs.”