Flint, MI— Flint Community Schools have been virtual since the start of the new year following a spike in COVID cases, but students are set to return to classrooms Feb. 7.

While the district had hoped to return to in-person learning Jan. 24, it is only within the last two weeks that COVID cases have declined in Flint.

“We want you to know that we take the decision to return to in-person learning very seriously, as we continue to prioritize the safety of our scholars, families, teachers and staff amidst fluctuating COVID-19 case numbers. The district’s health team has been meeting daily to discuss our plan to return to in-person learning,” Superintendent Kevelin Jones wrote in a letter to students and families.

Jones said the district has secured “adequate” COVID test kits and masks to mitigate the spread and test those who are symptomatic.

Staff or students who do test positive will be expected to follow the “FCS COVID Guidelines Tool Kit,” which will be posted on the district’s website sometime this week, Jones said.

Though districts may impose their own COVID procedures, the Genesee County Health Department has issued K-12 guidelines that schools and childcare facilities must follow. This includes:

  • Wearing face coverings on school bus transportation
  • Positive COVID-19 cases, unvaccinated close contacts, and symptomatic household members, whether vaccinated or not, must abstain from school
  • Schools must report all positive cases to their local health department for contact tracing purposes
  • Schools must continue to post COVID case count data on their website
  • Staff, teachers, and students must stay home if they are sick

Councilwoman Ladel Lewis, whose son attends Freeman Elementary, said she’s “okay” with schools reopening.

“Flint Schools have a mask requirement, so I’m confident things will be fine,” Lewis said.

As a parent, she had many roles to play when the district went virtual.

“Things are different transition from mom to the almighty principal. I have to do my job while (serving) as hall monitor. Young kids like to get out of their seats, “she said.

She’s glad her job allows her to stay home, and her son has been doing well in his online classes, she said. But as students return to classes, she urges other parents to be responsible and cautious.

“We pray parents will not send their child to school with the symptoms and make sure that everyone continues to wear their masks in public,” Lewis said.

Flint Schools also asks parents to test regularly at home and keep their children at home if they are sick to mitigate the spread.

Carmen Nesbitt is a journalist with diverse experience in news reporting and feature writing. She wrote for Hour Detroit and SEEN Magazine before joining the Flint Beat news team as an education and public...