COVID-19 cases hit three Berrien County schools this week

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BUCHANAN, MIch. -- Three Berrien County school districts reported new COVID-19 cases this week.

Buchanan Community Schools announced that a high school student tested positive for the virus – just days after both Watervliet and Lakeshore had to close their elementary buildings after teachers tested positive there.

Buchanan Superintendent Patricia Robinson sent a letter to families Thursday informing them of the positive student, the Berrien County Health Department was doing contact tracing and the high school would remain open to those taking in-person classes.

“We do make recommendations as far as actions the schools could take, but ultimately all decisions do lie within the schools themselves,” said Gillian Conrad, Communications Manager at the Berrien County Health Department.

Both Lakeshore’s Stewart Elementary and Watervliet’s North Elementary had to close those buildings this week due to a lack of substitutes available to compensate for their quarantined teachers.

“If throughout the course of our investigation we find that either a student or staff member has been in close contact with others we notify them immediately with instructions for quarantine,” said Conrad.

The Berrien County Health Department also said this week’s cases don’t necessarily heighten their concerns, as they knew an increase was inevitable with the return of in-person classes.

“We knew that COVID-19 cases would pop up within the school settings as soon as we went back to in-person,” said Conrad. “It is so important that anyone heading into those schools is doing a daily check of how they’re feeling – when in doubt, sit it out, don’t take the risk of getting anyone else sick.”

Buchanan High School held their football game as scheduled Friday night against Berrien Springs.

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