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Hancock Schools reports student tested positive

HANCOCK — As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to increase in Houghton County, Superintendent Steve Patchin reported Monday morning that a Hancock Schools student tested positive for COVID-19.

“Following directions of the Western U.P. Health Department, we are taking actions to mitigate the spread of the virus” Patchin said in a Monday email. “We continue to follow the strongly recommended protocols recommended by Governor Whitmer’s Return to School Advisory Council, including extensive cleaning, wearing of facial coverings, utilizing the cohort model, and many other details to mitigate the spread of the virus.”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer said in a press conference on Friday, Sept. 16, that while the Upper Peninsula continues in Phase 5, her administration is closely monitoring the rising rate of cases in the U.P. and Traverse City regions.

In just three days, between Sept. 16 and Sept. and Sept. 19, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Houghton County jumped from 183 to 227. The county reported 12 new cases as of Saturday, after Houghton-Portage Township Schools reported Friday that employee tested positive, after recently reporting that an elementary school teacher had tested positive for the virus. Jeffers High School closed temporarily last Tuesday after a staff member there tested positive, compelling Adams Township Schools to state that starting Monday, Jeffers High School students will be required to wear masks.

In his Monday email message, Patchin said the community is able to help the local schools remain open to face-to-face instruction.

“As we navigate these challenging times, there are actions you can take to support our efforts,” he said. “If your student is sick, please keep them at home. They can return to school after they have had 24 hours without a fever above 100.4 and are symptom free.”

Additionally, he requested that parents have their students wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds regularly.

“Following these and other recommended protocols will help us operate safely and effectively,” he said. .

As the community sees more cases, he continued, the school asks that people continue to support each other.

“I have witnessed tremendous acts of kindness in this community, supporting those that fall ill or on hard times,” said Patchin. “When my family lost our home in the Father’s Day flood, we witnessed this kindness first hand at a spaghetti dinner fundraiser. It was truly inspirational. The Hancock community is known for taking care of each other.”

Thanking the community members, on behalf of the Hancock Public Schools Education Team, for their continued support, he said that each member will need to support those who are sick.

“This pandemic will end,” said Patchin, “and when it does, let us remember the pandemic by the acts of kindness in our community that helped us through it.”

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