Saint Gerard School in Lansing has taken precautionary measures to protect the health and safety of students, families and faculty after a member of the junior high staff tested positive for COVID-19.
“The health and wellbeing of all within our school community is, of course, absolutely paramount – that’s why we’re taking a very precautionary approach in response to this situation guided by, and in cooperation with, our local health department who have been incredibly helpful throughout,” said Saint Gerard Principal, Ray Rzepecki, September 8.
Over the Labor Day weekend, a member of the junior high staff tested positive for COVID-19. They immediately informed the school administration who, in turn, promptly contacted Barry-Eaton County Health Department for advice and guidance. The health department recommended that all Saint Gerard junior high students and teachers stay at home for the next 14 days as a precautionary measure. Junior high school families were then duly informed of this decision on Monday, September 7, with 68 junior high students and five teachers instructed not to return to school until, at least, Monday, September 21. That’s around 18% of all the students in the school.
“Our school’s Safe Re-Opening Plan, published last month following approval from the local health department, contained contingency for this very scenario and, so, we’ve been prepared for this situation recognizing that it was, regrettably, likely to occur at some stage sooner or later,” added Principal Rzepecki.
“I would also like to thank our wonderful families, staff and students for being so calm and co-operative in responding to this weekend’s developments – we are blessed to have such a strong and supportive school community.”
Today health department staff have been contacting all junior high families regarding contact tracing. Meanwhile, the school building is closed today for deep-cleaning.
“We would like to thank Principal Ray Rzepecki for acting so swiftly and communicating so clearly with families in response to this situation,” said parent, Shelli Heal, who has a son in the junior high school.
“Like the vast majority of parents, we are pleased that our children are able to return to in-person learning as, we believe, this is best for their education and development while also, as a school community, ensuring we are sure-footed in navigating the ‘new normal’ that COVID-19 has brought to all walks of our lives – so far, I think we at Saint Gerard have achieved that while recognizing that we have to remain ever-vigilant in the days and months to come.”
Saint Gerard re-opened for the new school year on August 27. The school’s 12-page Re-Opening Plan for safe in-person learning was drawn up according to the present COVID-19 guidance from the State of Michigan and in consultation with the Barry-Eaton County Health Department and the Diocese of Lansing Office of Catholic School who both gave the strategy their approval.
While the majority of Saint Gerard parents have opted for in-person learning, the school continues to offer distance learning for those families who prefer online education for their children. As of today, all Saint Gerard Junior High students will now be transferred to online learning. Saint Gerard School is situated in west Lansing and has 378 student K-8 and 30 members of staff.