State identifies Michigan K-12 schools and colleges with COVID outbreaks

There are 33 new or ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at Michigan K-12 schools and colleges, with more than 1,400 people infected with the potentially deadly virus. (Shutterstock)

There are new or ongoing coronavirus outbreaks at 11 Michigan K-12 schools and 13 colleges, according to data released Monday by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Total positive cases now exceed 1,400, with the vast majority at colleges and universities.


Among the newly identified K-12 outbreaks: a Big Brother Big Sister program at Birmingham Groves High School, a Christian elementary, a private college preparatory high school and K-12 schools across much of the lower half of the state.

Among colleges, there are large outbreaks at Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, Central Michigan University and Adrian College. There are four outbreaks in Greek houses at Michigan Tech in the Upper Peninsula.

On Monday, Ingham County health officials concerned about the rapid growth in coronavirus cases around the campus of MSU issued a mandatory quarantine for 23 fraternities and sororities and seven large off-campus, large student houses. 

The vast majority of reported cases released by the state Monday were in colleges and universities – 1,379 confirmed cases on 13 campuses.

There were 33 confirmed infections reported in new or ongoing outbreaks in 11 Michigan K-12 schools.

State officials acknowledge those figures are likely an undercount, and Bridge Michigan was able to independently confirm at least one ongoing outbreak at  a rural Michigan school that is missing from the state’s list.


Monday’s release was the first time state health officials have identified schools with outbreaks following efforts by Bridge Michigan and other media outlets for public access to this information. Previously, the state released weekly reports on the number of outbreaks in schools, but did not identify the schools or the number of people infected. 

State health officials define a COVID-19 outbreak as two or more cases with a link by place and time indicating a shared exposure outside of a household (college residence halls, Greek houses and large shared apartments are not considered households). “New” outbreaks are those that have not been reported by the state in previous weeks; “ongoing” outbreaks are those that have been reported before and had at least one new confirmed infection in the past 14 days.

The reporting is a tally of outbreaks as of Sept. 10. The state plans to release a new list of school and college outbreaks each Monday, based on reports from local health departments. So far, the state has declined to identify outbreaks more quickly than that. Because schools are identified only on a weekly basis, the current disclosure system can result in public notification delays of between four and 10 days.

A statement released Monday by the Michigan State Police sought to assure parents that if a child’s school is listed, “the local health department and school are investigating and will contact you directly if you or your child was possibly exposed to coronavirus at school. Please note that students or staff who were exposed to COVID-19 outside of the school grounds AND are not thought to have spread the disease in the school grounds (due to quarantine, self-isolation, etc.) are not included in the data.”

“Parents and students should know that if their school is listed, their local health department and school are already investigating. Based on that investigation, people are contacted individually if they were possibly exposed to COVID-19 at school,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for the state. “Michigan schools are working hard to maintain a safe environment while also providing quality education.” 

The state police statement acknowledges that “many factors, including the lack of ability to conduct effective contact tracing in certain settings, may result in underreporting of outbreaks.”

One K-12 outbreak missing from Monday’s report is Pewamo-Westphalia, which switched to fully online learning at its middle/high school Sept. 8 because of an outbreak at the school. According to Superintendent Jeff Wright, there are currently six students who have tested positive at the school, which has an enrollment of about 490. A request for explanation about the absence of the mid-Michigan school from the list was not immediately available.

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Tue, 09/15/2020 - 8:53am

How many of these case can be traced baCK TO TRUMPS HATE RALLIES????

Tue, 09/15/2020 - 9:07am

How many students discovered in these "outbreaks" required hospital treatment and what is the incidence of transmission from asymptomatic patients?
The first thing that I was taught when introduced to data processing in 1961 was garbage in, garbage out. The second lesson focused on figures don't lie; however, liars figure.

Tue, 09/15/2020 - 9:59am

Where's the link to that information, please?!! I can't readily pull it up in an online search.

Tue, 09/15/2020 - 10:09am

Finally indisputable proof that UM has smarter students than MSU.

Fingers crossed
Tue, 09/15/2020 - 10:57am

Hoping all this reckless reopening results be thinking going forward, but not expecting so.

Tue, 09/15/2020 - 11:18am

How come none of your articles about outbreaks in schools ever mention if any of the kids or staff were hospitalized? At the beginning of this pandemic...a case was considered someone who had covid and was being treated for it. At some point this was switched to a "case" being simply someone who tested positive from an incredibly unreliable PCR test. Having the presence of a virus means nothing if the viral load is so low you're not even able to spread it to others. This is no longer a pandemic as it was back in March, April, and May...this is now a casedemic that is being used to keep people afraid and scared. Imagine if we did this for influenza every year...people would be so afraid they'd probably behave the same way we're all behaving now.

Stop allowing yourself to be manipulated, go live your life and stop listening to the fear mongers. There was a time to be worried about this virus..and it was about 6 months ago. If you live in Michigan, especially outside of the greater Detroit area, this virus has not been a threat to you since around the end of June and in many areas of's actually never really been a threat since day one.

Geeze Louise
Tue, 09/15/2020 - 8:24pm

That comment seems to reflect the new GOP talking points?

Here is a Bridge featured article that says six kids tested positive and one was hospitalized for six days in the ICU.

That's 17% of the children in the ICU after 10 days that the schools were open. Are you happy now? WAKE UP and THINK for YOURSELF!

Cee Cie
Thu, 09/17/2020 - 6:23pm

How many people have died in Michigan outside of the Detroit area? "...the virus hasn't been a threat since day one"? What a ridiculous statement. You are no smarter than Trump.

Tue, 09/15/2020 - 12:02pm

This type of human response to a crisis, was a terrific article. It was well written and seemed very straightforward from a young person in a strange new and frightening situation. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with the paper and thanks to the staff at the paper for taking the readers to a critical prospective.