Father Gabriel Richard High School has so far recorded 27 positive cases among 468 students and 47 faculty. The school says they believe the cases were contracted off campus and did not spread within the school.
Lansing Catholic and Father Gabriel Richard say they have incurred costs of $102,000 and $59,000 respectively to implement COVID-19 safety precautions.
The Diocese of Lansing says they have recorded positive cases for 99 students and 35 faculty, staff, and coaches. According to the diocese, fewer than five of those cases are believed to have been contracted on campus, and “none of those cases were at high schools.”
Whitmer has issued nearly 200 executive orders since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The state Supreme Court invalidated all of Whitmer’s executive orders Oct. 12, but the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services subsequently revived some, including an elementary school mask mandate, as emergency epidemic orders.
Michigan has 436,000 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Dec. 8.
In late October, Resurrection School in Lansing, along with two parents of children at the school, sued the state’s health department over a mandate that masks be worn continually during the school day, calling the requirement unnecessary, and harmful to its younger students.
Schools throughout the United States have grappled with what to do about in-person learning after the coronavirus pandemic caused nationwide shutdowns last March. Though the country saw a dip in coronavirus cases over the summer, recent surges this fall, shortly after classes resumed, have caused some schools to close again, and some states to reinstate lockdowns or stay-at-home orders.
Catholic schools have worked to put extensive health and safety regulations in place, including mandatory masking and social distancing, and virtual options for families who choose to keep their children at home. Some Catholic school leaders and bishops have argued that children have a right to in-person learning, which can help to ensure the quality of their education and to prevent their social isolation.
Some Catholic schools, such as those in Baltimore, have seen spikes in enrollment this fall because they are offering in-person learning more consistently than area public schools.
A Christian school in Kentucky argued this week that an order shuttering in-person education until Jan. 4 in Kentucky amid rising COVID-19 cases amounts to religious discrimination.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) temporarily halted in-person learning in the state by executive order. Beshear has defended his order, citing health risks and the order’s equal treatment of public and private schools and adding “we have taken the necessary actions to slow the growth in cases and save the lives of our fellow Kentuckians.”