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Alpena Public Schools to tell public if students infected

Courtesy Image An illustration of the coronavirus provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

ALPENA — Alpena Public Schools officials on Wednesday announced they will modify their notification process for parents and staff when a student has been exposed to the coronavirus, two days after two APS classrooms were sent home because students showed symptoms of coronavirus infection.

Interim Superintendent Susan Wooden said parents will be notified in a letter when a student in their child’s class has been exposed to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The rest of the school’s parents will be notified in a robocall, and district staff will be notified in an email.

Wooden said notices will be available on the district’s website and posted to its Facebook page, and press releases will be sent to the media.

Wooden said the change was made to the district’s communication protocol after she heard residents were discontent not knowing a student at Ella White Elementary School and a student at Sanborn Elementary School were showing symptoms.

The News reported on those infections on Tuesday after parents shared letters with the newspaper, but that information had not been made public by the district.

“That is not my intent, to have people uninformed, so, looking at the communication’s protocol, we are revising that and making sure that everyone is informed,” she said.

Letters were sent out on Monday to parents of two third-grade classes — one at Sanborn and the other at Ella White — notifying parents a student in their child’s class had been exposed to someone who tested positive for the virus and the students were now showing symptoms.

Wooden said both classes will learn online for 14 days and return to school on Oct. 5. Students will receive remote instruction on Chromebook laptops provided by the school district, taught by their teacher.

If a family does not have an internet connection, the student is provided a paper and pencil packet, she said.

Parents are encouraged to monitor for the onset of symptoms related to COVID-19, including fever, cough, difficulty breathing, headache, diarrhea, new fatigue, or loss of taste or smell.

Parents are encouraged to contact their medical provider if there are any changes in their child’s health.

Crystal Nelson can be reached at 989-358-5687 or cnelson@thealpenanews.com.

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