Pirate news: Superintendent recovering following emergency heart issue.

March 18, 2020

Hart Public Schools Superintendent Mark Platt

Pirate news: Superintendent recovering following emergency heart issue.

Pirate News is a service of Hart Public Schools in cooperation with Oceana County Press.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

HART — The day after receiving the unprecedented news that all Michigan schools will be closed for three weeks due to the coronavirus epidemic, Hart Public Schools Superintendent Mark Platt, 53, was hospitalized to due to an emergency heart issue.

Platt, who is recovering at home now, is expected to be back on the job by the end of the month.

“I felt like I was having a heart attack,” he recalled.

Platt stayed up late Thursday night to watch Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s announcement that all K-12 schools must be closed until April 6. After hearing the order, he sent out an email indicating that all hourly employees in the district will continue to be paid during the shutdown.

“It was in the middle of the night when I started having problems,” he said, “and I ended up taking an ambulance ride.” The school leader had heart surgery a couple weeks prior, and began having complications.

With the type of surgery he underwent, it is not uncommon to have this type of complication, particularly for a younger patient like himself. Because younger patients heal much more quickly than elderly patients, they tend to overdo it, he said. “I got overactive too quickly. The cancellation is definitely something that didn’t help.”

“The issue hit literally the same day as schools across the state are trying to understand what they need to do.”

Platt was treated at the Spectrum Health Fred and Lena Meijer Heart Center in Grand Rapids and remained hospitalized until Sunday.

“It has been an interesting time frame,” he said, regarding the anxiety patients experience being hospitalized during a pandemic. “I wanted out of that hospital very badly for more than one reason, and that was the main reason.”

One advantage to the time frame of his stay in the facility was that it was extremely quiet with the one-visitor rule, which allowed him to get much-needed rest.

Now that he is home with his wife Vicki, who is a nurse that used to work in cardiology rehab, he is resting and recovering comfortably.

“I’m just here hanging out,” he said Wednesday, March 18.

The board of education named Hart Middle School Principal Kevin Ackley interim superintendent in the meantime. “Once the board appointed Kevin, I felt like I could rest.”

“Because this is one of the biggest things schools have had to deal with, it was really difficult to unplug. But now I can get some rest because I have total confidence in Kevin.”

Platt said he was impressed with the work of HPS Director of Dining Services Caryn Elam and HPS Transportation Director Rob O’Neil to quickly set up distribution sites for meals for students during the shut-down. That also eased his mind, so he could relax during his recovery time. “They did a great job.”

Platt said he has one more procedure scheduled for April 14, which is a “minor outpatient deal.” That operation may be rescheduled due to the COVID-19 situation.

“My prognosis is fantastic,” the school leader said. “I’m confident I will make a full recovery.”

This story is copyrighted © 2020, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.


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