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Two schools closed due to COVID cases

Editor’s note: This story was updated Tuesday, Oct. 20.

Forest Hills — Northern Hills Middle and Northern High schools closed their doors temporarily this week due to students testing positive for COVID-19.

Northern Hills Middle announced Tuesday that school will go to virtual learning from Wednesday to at least Friday, after two students tested positive. Two other students are considered “probable” positives and are awaiting test results, said Principal David Simpson and Superintendent Dan Behm in a letter Tuesday to school families. The letter also stated that 25 percent of the school’s eighth-graders currently are out of school due to quarantine requirements. 

Plans are to notify families on Friday whether it is safe to return to the classroom next week. “It is possible that we may need to extend this virtual model and/or transition back to our hybrid model for next week to allow sufficient time to break any cycle of possible transmission,” the letter read.

The announcement followed the closing on Monday of Forest Hills Northern High School for this week, until at least Wednesday, after one student tested positive for COVID-19 and more than two dozen others deemed to be close contacts must quarantine for two weeks. 

A letter sent by Behm on Sunday to Northern High families indicated the district is “aware of social gatherings that took place over the weekend involving groups of students, some (of whom) are close contacts with the student who tested positive. Operating classes in a virtual format for the next three days will allow us additional time to determine if any additional positive cases result from these social events outside of school.”

The determination to go virtual for a week through at least Wednesday was made in collaboration with the Kent County Health Department.

A letter sent on Oct. 15 to all district families outlined the latest information about COVID-19 symptoms, when to get tested and to self-quarantine. Parents are encouraged to monitor their children for the onset of any symptoms related to COVID-19. If there is any change in your child’s health, please contact your medical provider.

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Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a reporter and copy editor, covering East Grand Rapids, Forest Hills and Northview. She is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them. Read Morgan's full bio or email Morgan.

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