Gwinn Area Community Schools release update on quarantine guidelines
GWINN — Gwinn Area Community Schools announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan will not require a student to quarantine based on a school-related close contact.
This applies to students attending Gilbert Elementary School, K.I. Sawyer Elementary School, and Gwinn High School/Middle School.
“Parents/guardians will have the option of following the Marquette County Health Department quarantine protocol or in lieu of being quarantined, a parent/guardian may elect to have their child remain in school by agreeing to periodic rapid COVID-19 testing over a 10-day period,” a school quarantine waiver states. “The district will contact trace and notify parents/guardians if their student is a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19 at school.”
Should a student be identified as a close contact to someone who tests positive for COVID-19, parents/ guardians can agree to have their student do the following:
≤ Agree to receive a periodic COVID-19 rapid test in lieu of being quarantined;
≤ If any symptoms are exhibited, notify the school and quarantine as expected;
≤ or, if the student tests positive for COVID-19, the parent/guardian will notify the school and quarantine as expected.
Failure to follow these three items “will result in a school-based quarantine according to the Marquette County Health Department quarantine protocol,” the waiver states.
As of Monday, GACS had six active confirmed cases of COVID-19 out of a district population of 1,170. Since the beginning of the previous school year on Sept. 28, 2020, the district has had a total of 53 cases of COVID-19, according to the GACS COVID-19 reporting dashboard.
State continues to see drop in unemployment
Michigan’s unemployment numbers continue to trend in the right direction, according to the state’s jobs report from August.
According to the report, the state’s unemployment rate last month was down to 4.7%, which is below the national average and is the lowest level the state has seen since March 2020.
“Michigan’s economy is headed in the right direction, but we know we still have more to do to get Michiganders back to work,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement Wednesday. “Our unemployment rate is below the national average, businesses are staffing up, and personal income is up 19.1%, year over year, the fourth highest nationwide. There is plenty to be optimistic about, but despite eight straight months of declining unemployment, we have more to do to ensure every family, community and small business can thrive as we usher in a new era of prosperity for our state.
“I have laid out a range of plans that utilize the massive influx of federal funds we have received to make game-changing investments in the kitchen-table, fundamental issues that matter most to Michiganders. This includes a plan to expand access to child care, invest in small businesses and entrepreneurship, upgrade our state and local parks, build affordable housing units, bolster public health departments and mental health resources, and more.
“I look forward to working with anyone who wants to put Michiganders first. Together, we can power our economy to new highs, build on the progress we have made, and get things done for our families, communities and small businesses.”
According to a news release, Michigan’s economy grew 7.6% in the first quarter of 2021, the best in the Midwest. The state also went from a projected $3 billion deficit to a $3.5 billion surplus and continues to lead the nation in automotive manufacturing. Personal income was up 19.1% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the first quarter of 2020, the fourth largest in the nation.
To read the full August jobs report, visit bit.ly/3975aEx.
More emergency food assistance benefits to be issued
Michigan families who are eligible for food assistance benefits are receiving an additional monthly payment this month in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday.
“No Michigander should go hungry during a pandemic, and I am grateful to the MDHHS for working hard to keep our communities safe and healthy,” Whitmer said in a statement. “This additional federal funding from the Biden administration will help us provide additional dollars to feed 1.25 million Michiganders in close to 700,000 households. If we continue working with our federal partners and putting Michiganders first, we can continue delivering real change that makes a difference in people’s lives and help usher in a new era of prosperity for our families, communities and small businesses.”
According to a news release, eligible clients will see additional food assistance benefits on their Bridge Card from Sept. 18-28. The additional benefits will be loaded onto Bridge Cards as a separate payment from the assistance that is provided earlier in the month.
“MDHHS remains committed to continuing to help families affected by the pandemic put food on the table,” MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel said in a statement. “Addressing food insecurity is one of the department’s top priorities and becomes even more important during a pandemic.”
Certain Michiganders began receiving additional food assistance in April 2020 after the onset of the pandemic the previous month. In May of this year, all eligible households began receiving extra monthly benefits. Federal approval is necessary every month.
All households eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program receive an increase of at least $95 monthly, even if they are already receiving the maximum payment or are close to that amount, the news release states. Households that received over $95 to bring them to the maximum payment for their group size will continue to receive that larger amount.
The following are the maximum allowable benefits for SNAP customers based on their respective household size:
≤ One person: $234
≤ Two persons: $430
≤ Three persons: $616
≤ Four persons: $782
≤ Five persons: $929
≤ Six persons: $1,114
≤ Seven persons: $1,232
≤ Eight persons: $1,408
The federal government is providing additional funding to states for food assistance under House Resolution 6201, otherwise known as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
Eligible families do not need to reapply to receive the additional benefits, officials said. People who receive food assistance can check their benefits balance on their Bridge Card by visiting www.Michigan.gov/MIBridges or calling a consumer service representative toll-free at 888-678-8914. Individuals can ask questions about the additional benefits by calling or emailing their caseworker.
Customer service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Spanish and Arabic service is available. If you are deaf, deaf/blind, or hard of hearing or speech-impaired, call the Michigan Relay Center by dialing 7-1-1.
For the latest information surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, visit www.Michigan.gov/coronavirus or www.CDC.gov/coronavirus. To find out more about vaccines or where to find a vaccination clinic near you, visit www.Michigan.gov/covidvaccine.