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Bridge Michigan
Michigan’s nonpartisan, nonprofit news source

Editor's note: A flawed report on COVID safety in Michigan schools

classroom
Bridge Michigan is setting the record straight on an article that miscalculated the number of Michigan counties considered safe by the CDC to return to in-school learning. (Shutterstock)

A Bridge Michigan article published Tuesday was based in part on a flawed interpretation of national health guidelines on when it is safe for students to return to classrooms during COVID. 

The article, “Tensions mount as 3 Michigan school districts hesitate to open classrooms,” stated that most Michigan counties could safely reopen their  schools for in-person learning under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention metrics. That is incorrect. 

In fact, according to CDC guidelines, the state’s infection levels suggest that schools in a majority of Michigan counties should remain closed to face-to-face learning, or return using a hybrid model, with students divided between those coming to class and those working from home. 

In analyzing which counties met the CDC threshold for reopening schools, Bridge used the average daily rate of COVID infections. But the CDC based its safety metrics on weekly case totals, not a daily average. 

So, for instance, a county with an average daily rate of 9 cases per 100,000 people would have a weekly rate, under CDC’s calculations, of 63 per 100,000. 

The article’s text was corrected Wednesday, when the mistake was brought to the reporters’ attention. An accompanying map that allowed readers to see how the CDC rated their school district’s risk level has been removed.

Bridge Michigan’s mission is to provide fact-based, nonpartisan and accurate information on critical issues facing Michigan. We quickly correct factual errors as soon as they are known, and strive for transparency when we fall short. We sincerely regret the error. 

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me. 

David Zeman 

Bridge Michigan Editor 

dzeman@bridgemi.com

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