Hello BR Families,
Earlier today, Black River was notified by Ottawa County Health Department that our school will be on Monday's list of schools that have had an outbreak of COVID-19. This message is to clarify what that means so that there is an understanding of the situation.
Here is what the Health Department communicated to the school:
"Each week Public Health reviews school outbreaks of COVID-19, and forwards updates to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for publication on their website. This is a routine reporting requirement for COVID-19 response, and should not be interpreted as a reflection of the effectiveness of your school’s prevention efforts. We know that almost every school in Ottawa County continues to implement the mitigation strategies of masking, distancing, and hand washing; and stays in communication with the Health Department when new cases are detected. This partnership is vital to prevention, and we value the cooperative efforts to isolate cases and quarantine contacts.
This email is a courtesy notification that next week Monday Black River Public School will be added to the list as an outbreak school with a total of 2 cases."
The term "outbreak" often elicits anxiety as it makes us think of the movies where the term is used to define something that has grown or spread out of control. This is certainly not the case at BR! The term outbreak, as it applies to schools and COVID-19, actually means that one positive case likely spread to at least one other person at the school.
For us, the term "outbreak" is being used to describe our situation for exactly this reason. Black River was informed over a week ago that we had a positive case of COVID-19 and we put all safety protocols regarding close contacts and quarantines into place. It seems that one of the close contacts who was put into quarantine has now tested positive, thereby making the term outbreak accurate. The threshold for using the term is very low so we wanted to be transparent about the actual situation.
Please know that anyone who was considered a close contact was communicated to over a week ago to follow the correct procedures. I hope this helps alleviate any concerns and helps in understanding of the terminology.