By Tom Tolen /

The Brighton Area Schools Board of Education and interim Superintendent Laura Surrey are becoming concerned about the latest COVID-19 statistics, which show an increase in coronavirus cases in Livingston County. District schools are set to open on Sept. 8th, the day after Labor Day, with in-person classes four days out of five and online classes on the other day.

Surrey told the board at its regular meeting Monday night that the latest Livingston County figures give it a 4.4% positivity rate for the coronavirus. That means as of Monday, 4.4% of Livingston County residents who were tested for the coronavirus tested positive. Livingston County’s rate was only 1% very recently, but Surrey lamented the fact that the trend has been going the wrong way.

Board President Andy Burchfield cautioned that the figures need to go down as the start of school approaches. “If you want to come back on Sept. 8th, it has to be a whole community effort, or it won’t be successful,” Burchfield said. The thought was shared by Surrey, who told the board, “We need to reduce the trend and avoid large gatherings, (particularly by young people), but we can’t do it alone.” However, they said they’ve been getting good reports on adherence to CDC directives from the Howell and Hartland schools, which opened their doors last week, saying rules requiring that masks be worn and other stipulations are being followed in those districts. Burchfield concluded the discussion with advice for Brighton district parents, saying bluntly, “If your child is showing (COVID-19) symptoms, don’t bring them to school.”

According to current plans, school for Brighton area kids will start on Tuesday, Sept. 8th with half-day sessions the first week. In-school classes will be held on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, with Wednesdays reserved for online classes to allow for deep cleaning of classrooms and other areas. For parents concerned about their child attending school and contracting the coronavirus, the Brighton Virtual academy has been established for grades junior kindergarten through twelfth.