Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon today issued an Emergency Order under MCL 333.2253 requiring that school districts report COVID-19 cases publicly and on a more regular basis than the state was already reporting. Under a now voided Executive Order, this reporting requirement was supposed to be issued Monday. In the wake of the Michigan Supreme Court ruling invalidating the Executive Order, this reporting requirement has been issued under the Public Health Code.

What’s Required?

  1. Upon learning that a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19 is a School Associated Case, the local health department must, within 24 hours, notify the school to which the School Associated Case(s) relate, including the affected building or location and other information that may assist the school with carrying out its duties under this order.
  2. Within 24 hours of being notified by a local health department of School Associated Case(s), the school must provide Public Notice to the School Community in a highly visible location on the School’s website that covers the impacted building or location. Schools are encouraged to provide information about measures in place at the school to prevent transmission of COVID-19, as well as measures that individuals can take to prevent transmission.
  3. Public Notice does not replace the need for direct notification to persons who were, or are suspected to have been, a Close Contact of School Associated Case(s); such notice is the responsibility of the local health department.

The reporting requirements of this order begin at 8 a.m. on October 12, 2020. MASA has been working closely with both MDHHS and the Governor’s Office to ensure that districts had time to implement this reporting requirement.

While we would have preferred that the order define specifically what a “probable” case of COVID-19 is, it appears that determination will be made by health departments, and is not in your hands as educators.

For purposes of this order, the following definitions apply:

  • “School” means public and nonpublic schools.
  • “Close Contact” means any individual who was within 6 feet of a COVID-19 infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from two days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, two days prior to positive specimen collection).
  • “School Associated Case” means a case of probable or confirmed COVID-19 amongst students, teachers, staff members, coaches, volunteers, or any other person who was present on school property or at a school function under circumstances that may result in the transmission or contraction of COVID-19 during their infectious period.
  • “School Community” means the set of persons who are affiliated with the school. This set may include but is not limited to, parents, guardians, students, teachers, staff members, coaches, and volunteers.
  • “Public Notice” means providing the new and cumulative counts of School Associated Case(s) of COVID-19, including the date on which the School was notified of the new School Associated Case(s).