Update From Jeanice K. Swift, Superintendent of Schools
Announcement: Week of January 24-28, 2022
Hello AAPS School Community,
We are working hard to support our staff and serve our students during this challenging January. Cases remain high in the AAPS and across our community, and we are not yet through this current omicron surge.
Our AAPS layered mitigation strategies represent our strongest approach: vaccination and boosters, universal masking, and remaining home when experiencing symptoms. We are making progress through this current COVID surge and the related impact across our schools. Many thanks to our students and staff, parents and community for all you are doing to support our progress through this school year.
- All Ann Arbor Public Schools will be open for in-school learning next week, January 24-28.
- Schedule Adjustment to Remote-Virtual for Wednesday, January 26, 2022
We continue to work through ongoing, significant staffing challenges related to COVID-19, particularly across all operations teams.
To focus and ensure operations for the upcoming week, we will transition the Wednesday, January 26th early release day from an in-school early release day to a remote-virtual early release day.
Students are expected to sign into their classes at the regular morning report time and participate in learning together remotely next Wednesday, following their school’s early release day schedule. We appreciate your support with this necessary adjustment. As in previous remote instruction days, attendance will be taken.
(As a note, early release days are necessitated by state requirements to complete professional development hours for all staff).
- Some transportation routes currently on suspension will need to be extended for one additional week. Parents/Guardians are being notified directly as to the status of their specific route and when to anticipate restoration.
This decision is necessary due to additional COVID impact among transportation staff. We will continue to vigilantly monitor this transportation situation daily and work to restore transportation routes as soon as we can mobilize healthy and qualified staff to serve.
The priority in the AAPS continues – to have our students and staff learning together in school every day we can safely support adequate professional staff for in-school supervision of our students. Our students, staff, parents and families are working together to take the necessary steps to preserve in-school learning. As needed, we will continue to make decisions about the transition to remote, virtual learning on a classroom, grade level and school-by-school basis, based on:
- the ability to staff schools for in-school learning, supervision of students and safe in-school operations,
- high numbers of positive COVID-19 cases within a given classroom or school, and
- guidance by Washtenaw County Health Department (WCHD) in response to a COVID outbreak situation.
We continue to monitor staff illness and attendance around the clock to determine the viability to appropriately staff schools and support operations and to notify our staff, students and parents, as early in the process as possible.
While we work to notify parents as soon as we possibly can, these situations can at times change rapidly. We will continue to do everything we can to achieve in-school learning and to communicate often.
This concludes the AAPS announcement; additional Superintendent update information is included below.
~Summary Highlights of Superintendent Update~
- Our priority continues for in-school learning when we can adequately staff to do so.
- AAPS foundational tools to prevent COVID transmission include vaccination and boosters, universal masking and remaining home when exhibiting any symptoms.
- Our AAPS school plan features layers of protection against transmission of COVID-19; we understand that this is the best way to keep our students and staff learning together in school.
- The weekly AAPS COVID-19 Case Dashboard, updated today, shows 177 cases reported this week. This is the highest number of cases reported during this pandemic so far and reflects the surge currently occurring in our Ann Arbor community.
- We are aware of 37 additional COVID cases reported this week; these cases are reported from staff and students who were not on campus during their infectious days, yet many of these cases directly impact staff in-school attendance.
- Our COVID Response Team is working with one outbreak in an elementary school, and we continue to closely monitor situations in some schools where we observe patterns in cases, week over week.
- AAPS COVID Response Team has updated guidance for AAPS K-12 schools based on recently updated WCHD guidance.
Important Notes on School Guidance:
- Vaccination status continues to matter for all staff and for students ages 5-18
- An option for five-day isolation with the earliest possible return on day six is available if strict criteria are met: symptoms are resolved, agreement to wear a high filtration mask and continued close monitoring. A negative rapid antigen test is strongly recommended but not required.
- Students and staff must prioritize health and not report to school or work until recovered.
- Case notification will continue in adherence to MDHHS guidelines to notify parents within 24 hours. Notification letters will be sent to classroom/school communities no more than once per day and include all cases reported for the school in the last 24 hours.
- Individual case response will look different — in most situations, case response will not include contact tracing nor individual phone calls to parents regarding quarantine.
We continue to make progress together. Thank you for all the steps you are taking every day to support our students, staff and the Ann Arbor Public Schools community.
Jeanice K. Swift
Superintendent of Schools
Ann Arbor Public Schools