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Zeeland Public Schools quarantines more than 200 students, moves East and West high schools online

In a news release, the district said virtual learning for the two schools will remain until Nov. 6.

ZEELAND, Mich — Zeeland Public Schools (ZPS) announced Wednesday that more than 14 staff members and 200 students are in quarantine after a “potentially large exposure to COVID-19” at both Zeeland East and Zeeland West high schools. 

Superintendent Calvin DeKuiper says a staff member tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday morning after experiencing symptoms the previous Saturday. That staff member has not been in the buildings since symptoms began.

"Everyone is doing the right thing," says DeKuiper. "They are reporting the way that they should. They're telling us and they're looking out for other people, not themselves."

Both schools are closing for the rest of the week and will start virtual learning on Nov. 2. In a news release, the district said virtual learning for the two schools will remain until Nov. 6.

“This will allow for proper contact tracing, ensure all classrooms have qualified teaching staff, and ultimately minimize the spread throughout ZPS and the community,” the release reads. “The OCDPH & the campus of Zeeland High Schools will be in contact within the next 24 hours with students and staff that require a 14-day quarantine due to the current direct exposure.”

On Thursday, Oct. 29 and Friday, Oct. 30, students will not report to instruction in person or online. The district said this will allow time for teachers to prepare for a week of remote learning. The district is also asking parents to use this time to monitor their children for any signs or symptoms of COVID-19. DeKuiper says the remote learning should not last more than the planned week.

"I think these are going to be some potential short term outages of school, especially as we go through the indoor season," says DeKuiper. "I feel really good that things have gone well."

At this time, extracurricular actives like theater and athletics are expected to continue for students who are not in quarantine, the district said. All other ZPS buildings are open.

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