Merritt, Brandywine Elementary closed as transportation staff quarantine

Published 7:28 am Tuesday, November 17, 2020

NILES — One day after Michigan closed high schools across the state to “Pause to Save Lives” amid the second wave of coronavirus, Brandywine Community Schools announced it would close its two elementary schools for two weeks.

Following the order shared Sunday evening by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, students in kindergarten through eighth grade were permitted to continue in-person learning despite high schools being closed. However, Brandywine superintendent Karen Weimer issued a statement Monday evening to the district’s Facebook page announcing that Merritt Elementary, which contains kindergarten through second grade, and Brandywine Elementary, which contains third through sixth grade, would close.

Weimer wrote that the district learned Monday that a Merritt student tested positive for the virus, as did a transportation staff member. An additional Merritt staff member has a presumed positive case.

“Due to the positive case in our transportation department, several other transportation staff members are in quarantine,” Weimer wrote.

The transportation department serves both buildings, as well as the middle/high school, which was already closed.

Remote learning begins Tuesday and will continue through the Thanksgiving holiday. Students will return to in-person learning at the two elementary schools on Monday, Nov. 30.

Students may pick up Chromebooks, textbooks and workbooks at both buildings between noon and 3:40 p.m. Tuesday. Merritt students should pick up their supplies at the car rider pickup near the flagpole at Merritt. Third and fourth graders should pick up supplies at the north car rider door at the elementary, and fifth and sixth graders should pick up supplies at the front bus loop.

“If you did not receive a message from a Brandywine employee [Monday], then you do not need to be concerned about potential exposure and no further actions are needed,” Weimer wrote. “At this time, the Berrien County Health Department is unable to follow up with each individually quarantined student unless the situation is considered high risk due to the rising amount of cases outside schools in our county. Please know we have been in contact with the BCHD about these cases and are using the guidelines and protocols provided by them to determine who is close-contact and for how long the individuals must quarantine.”