By Jon King /

Following Gov. Whitmer’s press conference Friday in which she urged a two-week suspension of in-person high school classes and sports; only one local school district is taking action.

In his weekly video update on Friday, Pinckney Superintendent Rick Todd said they would pause both in-person instruction and sports at the high school this week, with most students going to online learning.

Todd pointed to the 19 confirmed COVID cases last week in the district, which he said was as many as they normally see over the course of a month. Todd said most of the cases occurred over spring break, and “we're definitely feeling the impact of that and I think we're going to continue to feel the impact of that." Six more cases were reported over the weekend in Pinckney.

Pinckney is the only local district to have made that decision. In a statement posted on the Howell Public School’s website, Superintendent Erin MacGregor said that as the state assessment testing schedule at the high school meant they would only have one grade level in the freshman campus and one grade level in the 10-12 building at a time Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, they would continue with in-person learning for high school students next week. “Of course, this is subject to change based on the advice and guidance of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Livingston County Health Department. At this time, we will continue spring sports following all of the current safety protocols and requirements outlined by the MDHHS and MHSAA.” Five cases were reported Thursday in the district, followed by eleven more over the weekend, including a 9th-grade student who rode bus 19.

Hartland Consolidated Schools Superintendent Chuck Hughes made a similar calculation, saying because the high school schedule is “light” this week due to testing, his recommendation was to continue forward with face-to-face learning and spring sports at Hartland High School and LEGACY High School. “While I understand that not everyone will agree with this decision, please know that we are evaluating how to move forward daily.” Hartland is currently showing 14 confirmed cases over the last week, 10 of them at the high school.

The Charyl Stockwell Academy District, which reported four cases this week, said its Leadership Team decided that a two-week suspension of in-person learning or youth sports was unnecessary. “We have confidence in our protocols as evidenced by the success we have had this school year in preventing the spread of this virus in our schools,” noting they “have not had a single case of COVID-19 contact traced back to any of our schools and no evidence of the spread of COVID-19 within our schools.”

While it is commonly agreed that in-school transmission has been low, the issue for many schools has been about the availability of staff members, whether full-time or substitutes. Even though the vast majority of infections occur outside of school, they affect schools nonetheless due to students and staff needing to be quarantined. Districts are not required to report quarantine numbers.

Meanwhile, the Howell Carnegie District Library said that effective Saturday, they would be offering curbside pickup until further notice, while their Board of Trustees meeting set for Tuesday, April 13 at 7pm will be held in a virtual format. The Pinckney Library was also moving to curbside service through Saturday, April 24th.