The Costello Elementary School building was closed to students due to coronavirus concerns. A sign welcomes students to Zoom for virtual learning.

The Costello Elementary School building was closed to students due to coronavirus concerns. A sign welcomes students to Zoom for virtual learning.

C & G Newspapers

Troy Schools moves to online learning only amid rise in COVID-19

By: Mary Beth Almond | Troy Times | Published November 20, 2020


TROY — The Troy School District has moved to online-only instruction for K-12 students in response to rising cases of COVID-19, officials said.

On Monday, Nov. 9, all K-12 students returned to virtual learning due to “staffing issues and guidance from public health experts who have moved Oakland County into the highest risk group for potential outbreaks,” according to the district’s website.

For several weeks, Troy Schools had been utilizing a hybrid-learning plan, where approximately 50% of students attended class at school — either on Mondays and Tuesdays, or Thursdays and Fridays — while the other half students logged in to their classes virtually to receive instruction from their teacher along with the in-person students. Students were cohorted by last name for in-seat attendance.

However, on Oct. 30, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services raised Oakland County’s risk determination level to E — the highest level on the MiStartMap — which means there are 150 or more cases per million population or a 20% or greater test positivity rate in the county. There are six risk levels, A-E, based on rolling seven-day averages for daily new cases per capita and positivity rates on coronavirus tests.

On Nov. 5 Superintendent Richard Machesky sent an email to parents to alert them of the shift back to virtual learning. He said the district continues to have “major staffing issues” at the high schools and elementary schools as teachers are forced to quarantine due to coronavirus exposure, and that it would only be a matter of time before staff at the middle schools were “substantially” affected as well.

“We simply do not have enough substitutes to cover our teachers and staff who are self-quarantining due to exposure to the virus,” he wrote.

District officials said they hope to return to a hybrid-learning model as soon as possible.

Oakland County Health Department and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services rules currently do allow for in-person learning for elementary school students, but many local districts also have returned to all-remote instruction. High schools and colleges were barred from allowing in-person instruction for three weeks by MDHHS rules announced Nov. 15.

“If the data shows improvement, our intention is to return to a hybrid option. But we can’t do this alone. We need our community to take the precautions in their own lives to drive the spread of COVID-19 down,” Machesky wrote in the email.

The district was slated to reevaluate the 100% distance-learning plan during the week of Nov. 23, after press time.

“We know that this will come as a relief to some families and cause distress to others. This is a difficult time in our community, our state and our county. We are committed to the well-being of our students and staff and hope that you and your families remain safe and healthy,” Machesky wrote in the email.

For more information, visit or call Troy Schools at (248) 823-4000.