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If preliminary enrollment counts hold true, South Haven Public Schools will see an increase in the number of students this fall.

“We budgeted for 1,765 students,” District Superintendent Kevin Schooley said. “Our current enrollment number is 1,803.”

With school districts in Michigan expect to receive $8,700 per pupil for the 2021-22 school year, the unanticipated increase in enrollment could mean a sizeable boost in revenue for South Haven – about $330,600.

However, Schooley and other school officials aren’t counting their chickens before they hatch.

“Enrollment can be rather fluid at this time of year,” Schooley said, referring to the state’s two-pronged system of determining student populations for each school district.

The first “official” count day occurs on Oct. 6 throughout districts in Michigan. A second one will then take place the second Wednesday of February 2022.

The increase in student enrollment – at least for now – in the South Haven school district coincides with a return to five-day-a-week, in-person learning for students.

For the last 18-month ordeal to halt the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, South Haven, like other Michigan school districts, halted in-person learning in March 2020. Later, when schools reopened, students had to wear masks. Many extra-curricular activities and sporting events were either canceled or modified to limit contact with other students, and learning was taught using a hybrid online, in-person approach.

In talking to school board members after the first two weeks of school had been compleed, Schooley reflected on the last 18 months and stated, “this was the first traditional five-day school week we’ve had since March 2020.”

School protocols

Efforts to control the COVID-19 virus continue at South Haven schools.

When students, staff and adults are inside school buildings, they must continue to wear face masks until the Van Buren/Cass District Health officials list Van Buren County in the low or moderately low risk for transmissibility of the virus.

Schooley said South Haven has been lucky so far.

“We’ve had to quarantine less kids this year than compared to this time last year,” Schooley said, explaining that during the 2020-21 year, there were instances when students and teachers in a class would be sent home after it was determined that one or several people in that class had contracted the virus. “I think we’ve quarantined six kids this year. We haven’t seen the transmission (of COVID-19) yet this year.”