On Monday, November 16th, the State Court Administrative Office set new standards and guidance for the Court’s Return to Full Capacity. Among other parameters, they are requiring courts in phase 2 to go back to phase 1 if there is a 14 day increase in cases in the county, and if the test positivity rate has a 7 day average positivity rate of 15% or higher. Kent County and the 17th Circuit Court meet both of these criteria, so we will be going back to phase 1 immediately. Since our last time at phase 1, we have learned many things and adopted many technological changes (Zoom, more laptops, etc..). We have also made sure with scheduling and other methods, staff can safely maintain social distancing while at work, and can work from home when necessary. These steps are specific to our office workers, and not those in juvenile detention which have their own protocols. If you have questions about in-person office time and schedules, please contact your supervisor.
The following operational changes will be effective beginning Wednesday, November 18:
In order to facilitate the business of the court, the court is enacting the following measures related to court proceedings:
- Proceedings will be conducted virtually to the maximum extent possible, consistent with Administrative Order No. 2020-6.
- In-person proceedings are limited to those where there is a statutory or constitutional right that has not been waived.
- In the event that an in-person hearing must be held, (#2) that hearing will be limited to no more than ten people or any number that ensures six-foot social distancing at all times. Face coverings will be required in court in a manner consistent with the SCAO Return to Full Capacity Guide. They will/will not be provided by the court prior to entry.
- Offsite in-person visits with probationers and clients will be discontinued or limited to the greatest extent possible.
- Pursuant to MCR 8.110(C), members of the public or staff who refuse to wear required face coverings or adhere to social distancing requirements may be asked to leave the court facility.
- Any member of the public who is asked to leave the court facility must be offered an opportunity to conduct court business virtually, attend court proceedings virtually, file documents in an alternative manner, or confer with court administration to determine alternate arrangements for accessing the court.