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  • By Lisa Brody

Bloomfield Hills district back to remote learning

Due to the skyrocketing number of COVID-19 cases across the state, including in Oakland County, an emergency meeting of the Bloomfield Hills Board of Education was held on Friday, November 6, with a determination to pause in-person education and return all students to distance, at-home learning. In a communication to families, superintendent Pat Watson said that on Thursday, November 5, Oakland County reported an increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases to over 25 per 100,000 residents. “This metric now places Oakland County and Bloomfield Hills Schools in the RED phase,” he said. School was held on Friday, November 6, and students were encouraged to utilize it as an opportunity to bring home any materials needed for distance learning in anticipation of the board decision, which was held remotely at 9:30 a.m. Earlier in the week, Watson and Bloomfield Hills High School Principal Charlie Hollerith had determined that the high school would go all virtual for the time being due to the district's ability to appropriately and safely staff the building given the COVID-19 statistics. Watson said the district will continue to offer technological services to students, parents and staff while buildings are closed, as well as social-emotion support. In addition, food service distribution is available every Monday and Thursday at Bloomfield Hills High School. There have been positive cases reported throughout the district. On Wednesday, November 4, two positive COVID-19 staff cases were reported at Bloomin' Preschools, Fox Hills; one positive student case was reported at the International Academy; and one positive staff case was reported at East Hills Middle School. On Monday, November 2, the district notified families there had been one positive COVID-19 student case at Bloomfield Hills High School; one positive student case and one positive staff case at Bloomin' Preschool, Fox Hills; one positive student case at East Hills Middle School; three positive student cases at International Academy, Okma Campus; one positive student case at Lone Pine Elementary School; and two positive student cases at West Hills Middle School. District superintendent Watson wrote, “If you do not receive a specific quarantine notice from a district official or an Oakland County Health Division case investigator, your child can attend school as scheduled. The schools will be deep cleaned once again this evening and all areas will be thoroughly disinfected.” All reported cases are available on the district's website, and family's are required to report probable and positive cases. “We greatly appreciate the partnership with our families in reporting suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 so we may best protect the students and staff in our schools. Please continue to connect with your school principal regarding any concerns you may have regarding your child’s symptoms or possible exposure to someone with COVID-19,” Watson said. In Birmingham Schools, high school students at Groves and Seaholm have not yet returned to in-person learning, with a tentative date of December 1, the start of the second trimester. Middle school students at Derby, Berkshire and BCS were to have begun in-person on Thursday, November 5, but on Wednesday, November 4, the BPS Central Leadership Team recommended a delayed start for middle school students. “This does not change learning plans for our elementary schools or BCS grades 3/4. Middle school students and BCS 5-8 students will begin in-person hybrid following further discussions with the Oakland County Health Division (OCHD). We do not expect this to be a long delay, but will communicate when we have an estimated timeline,” the district posted on their website. Positive COVID cases were reported at Covington on Wednesday, November 4; a case at Harlan Elementary and another at Berkshire Middle School on Sunday, November 1; and a probable cause on Tuesday, October 27 at Quarton Elementary.

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