(This story had been updated to reflect that Carman-Ainsworth High School Principal Charles LaClear did not tell students they would not be able to walk for graduation. LaClear has responded saying he has “never threatened commencement for students being empowered to protect themselves.”)
Flint Twp., MI—Carman-Ainsworth High School had the highest number of COVID cases in Michigan for the week of Nov. 1, according to Michigan’s School-Related Cluster and Outbreak Reporting website.
The high school had 56 confirmed cases, both staff and students. Universal Learning Academy in Westland, Mich., had the second-highest number of cases for the week, a total of 19.
Genesee County Health Department officials said the cases are unrelated to activity within the school.
“A lot of these cases are not tied to in-school transmission,” said Genesee County Health Department Deputy Health Director Kayleigh Blaney. “They’re students that happen to go to Carmen-Ainsworth High School. So, we are working with the school, just like we do with every school in Genesee County right now, as well as any school that has an outbreak, to make sure that their mitigation measures, and their contact identification, and the support that they have is what they need.”
However, some students said the administration isn’t doing enough to prevent the spread of COVID.
Last week, high school seniors Kameron Motley and LaMar Calvert wrote a letter to Carman-Ainsworth Superintendent Cathy McGilvery, describing the high school as an “unhealthy and contaminated environment” and asked that the building be shut down for deep cleaning.
The two also claimed more than 300 students have been quarantined due to having close contact with those who tested positive, around 26% of the high school’s student population.
Motley planned a peaceful walkout for Nov. 5 but said staff told students they wouldn’t be able to participate in commencement if they followed through with it.
Apart from two school days, the district has had at least one case per day between its seven schools since Oct. 26. Calvert and Motley said they attribute this to relaxed preventative measures.
“Why aren’t the precautionary measures such as wiping down desks before each hour, less kids in school each day, and deep cleaning from last year being enforced in a time where it is needed? Not just me, but my fellow students feel that the procedures being followed by the CAHS administration has become very lax since the 2021-2022 school year has started,” the letter read.
Blaney said the health department has reviewed the cases and determined there are no specific classrooms related to the outbreak. Carman-Ainsworth officials did not respond to requests for comment by press time.