Clarkston schools plowing through unconventional year

Clarkston News Editor

Clarkston Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Shawn Ryan continues to stay positive and keep families aware of how the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the district.
In his April 23 email communication, Ryan discussed challenges CCS continues to face regarding positive cases of the virus and associated quarantining.
“The contact tracing process is all-consuming for our front office staff and the district’s COVID Coordinator Heidi McClain, and I’d like to personally and publicly thank them for successfully managing this important work with building administrators,” Ryan said. “The Oakland County Health Division nurses who support this process and serve as a conduit between our schools and the health department consistently report that Clarkston’s recording protocols are among the most efficient, consistent, and reliable in the county.”
Ryan also thanked parents and guardians who have greatly assisted the district by keeping sick or potentially exposed students and siblings home, completing the necessary steps for reporting absences and positive cases in a timely way, and complying with quarantine orders.
“That’s not to say there isn’t still a fair amount of confusion surrounding when to keep kids home, how long they should stay home, and when they can come back,” said Ryan. “We will undoubtedly be managing this virus in our community for some time, so I thank you in advance for your continued cooperation and support to avoid unnecessary exposures.”
On the good news front, Ryan noted that student-to-student, staff-to-student, or student-to-staff transmission in school remains low, while virus rates in the immediate area and daily cases in Michigan are showing signs of a decline. Oakland County epidemiologists attribute this to having hit a saturation level of sorts, as well as increased immunity provided by the vaccination of Oakland County residents aged 16 and older.
“Our mandatory rapid-testing of roughly 650 Clarkston Community Schools athletes each week has identified only five confirmed positive results (a sixth positive rapid test was later confirmed by PCR testing to be a false positive),” explained Ryan. “Since implementing weekly testing on April 11 as directed by the Michigan High School Athletics Association, Clarkston Athletics’ testing has returned fewer positive cases than most Oakland Athletic Association school districts.”
Ryan added the district operations, “though significantly stressed,” remain strong due to the “amazing” efforts of CCS staff.
“We intend to continue to offer face-to-face instruction, extracurricular activities, and athletics for the remainder of the school year,” Ryan said.

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