BRIMLEY, Mich. (WJMN) – Following a return from holiday break that saw nearly a quarter of the student body absent due to illness and quarantining, Brimley Area Schools made the decision to switch to remote learning on January 6 and 7. Superintendent Brian Reattoir said that while there were students with COVID-positive tests, others were feeling the effects of other seasonal illnesses.

“As we started looking at those data points we started noticing that we may not have 75% attendance to start the day on Wednesday morning,” Reattoir said. “So we at Tuesday morning started the day at 78% and by lunchtime we were at 74%, so that’s not a good direction to be going with your attendance.”

While this is Brimley’s first time transitioning to virtual learning this school year, previous stints of remote schooling during the pandemic have helped to make the process more seamless. The school is able to provide computers to every student, and had been working with teachers to have their curriculum ready to go online.

The school also closed on Wednesday to hold a preparation day for teachers and staff to prepare for the transition. During that time, school bus drivers were able to deliver supplies to students who were previously abesnt or weren’t able to take them home on Tuesday.

“Our families understand I think where we are with this,” Reattoir said. “We’ve been very upfront, we’ve communicated this, this is a potential. It’s not ideal, but our community has been very supportive and patient with us as we continue to navigate this school year.”

While other area schools have not had to make similar decisions at this point, Reattoir says administrators from nearby schools often discuss issues like these to keep an eye on how they might impact the region.

“It’s unfortunate that this has happened. We’re doing the very best that we can do to keep everyone as safe and healthy as possible,” Reattoir said. “But we can’t control everything and we just need to continue to move forward and do the best we can. And we’ll continue to provide our education in-person as long as we can.”