On January 13, the Pontiac Public School District posted on its Facebook page that it was closing classes until January 18 due to an increase in COVID-19 cases.
And three days later, with classrooms closed, the district praised its high school wrestling team for their performance at a tournament in Imlay City.
Many school districts in Michigan had determined it was safe for extracurricular activities to continue in January during an increase in COVID cases. Spectators as well as athletes were allowed to participate in these events, although students could not travel to classrooms to learn.
Efforts to replace in-person instruction with remote internet connections have contributed to poor mental and physical health and learning delays among students, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association. The effects were felt hardest among children from low-income households. Still, school districts across the state continue to close their classrooms, citing outbreaks of the latest coronavirus variant.
Mt. Pleasant Public Schools announced it will close classrooms Jan. 13 through Jan. 30, reopening Jan. 31. But his high school basketball team played a game on Jan. 22, according to ABC News 12. Many fans attended, some not wearing face masks or practicing social distancing.
The Detroit Public Schools Community District originally announced it would close classrooms Jan. 4-14, according to Click Detroit. It then extended the closure and did not reopen classrooms until Jan. 31, according to the district. Facebook page. While classrooms were closed, however, the district announced a Public School League Game of the Week on Jan. 21. The district included a video of the game. It showed many fans in the stands, as well as cheerleaders and coaches, not wearing masks. The video also showed players in close contact with each other not wearing masks.
School district officials in Mt. Pleasant, Pontiac and Detroit did not respond to requests for comment on why they determined it was safe enough to hold sporting events, but they were still closing venues of class.