Staff illnesses prompt string of school closures

Several Ann Arbor public schools were forced to close over the past two weeks because of high numbers of staff absences due to illness.


Ann Arbor Open, Burns Park Elementary, and Tappan Middle schools first closed on Friday, Dec. 15, as announced by Superintendent Jeanice Swift the previous evening. Mitchell Elementary was forced to join the three schools and close on Friday morning.


“We [were] unable to ensure staffing sufficient for a safe in-person learning environment for students,” read a statement from Swift. All classes, including before and after school activities, were canceled. Due to the high number of staff illnesses there was also no remote instruction, Swift added.


Swift announced that custodial teams had conducted a thorough disinfection sweep of all buildings affected in an effort to minimize transmission risks. But Tappan remained closed on Monday, Dec. 19, and was joined by A2 Steam K-8 at Northside, which also closed due to staff illness.


A health advisory posted to the AAPS website urged families to take precautions to avoid illness, including keeping children home while ill, and the directive that “students and staff are strongly advised to wear a mask at school, especially in schools where parents have been notified that their student’s classroom or building is experiencing high levels of illness.”

A district spokesperson told WXYZ Channel 7 that illnesses affecting district staff and students include COVID, RSV (a respiratory virus), the flu, the common cold, and Norovirus.