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Education

Ann Arbor Public Schools to close next week due to "alarming" COVID-19 increase in students, staff

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School will be closed on Monday and Tuesday next week for Ann Arbor Public Schools.

In a letter to students and staff on Wednesday, Superintendent Jeanice Swift said the closures are due to "an alarming increase in staff and student COVID-19 cases." She said related staffing challenges are another reason for the closures.

In a message to parents and students, Swift explained:

"Over the past three weeks, student and staff cases have grown steadily. Unfortunately, since Friday, we’ve seen a spike in cases, especially among adults in the AAPS, both staff and partners/contractors. As in recent weeks, these cases are distributed at numerous buildings across the school district. This increase in AAPS cases impacts every area of district operations: classrooms and schools, transportation, food service and custodial. This situation is a direct reflection of the COVID case surge in our Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County community and across Michigan."

Swift said the days off would extend the Thanksgiving school break.

She also noted that the district has increased pay for substitute teachers to try to "incentivize a struggling and shallow labor pool."

AAPS is one of a number of school districts struggling with rising case numbers and staffing shortages. Detroit schools have announced a switch to "virtual Fridays" throughout December.

Michigan has fully entered a fourth surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, and is currently has the highest case rate in the nation.

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