Congratulations on a successful school opening and completing these first two weeks of this 2021-2022 school year!
Our students are happy to be back together in classrooms, and we are delighted to enjoy our students, teachers, staff and leaders learning and growing together in our classrooms.
Summary / Highlights of this Message (1-2 minute read)
•A general overview of the AAPS Quarantine Learning Plan
•AAPS COVID Update: So far this school year, we have not seen evidence of COVID spread within our schools
•We anticipate an update to AAPS Quarantine Guidelines following further clarification from the Washtenaw County Health Department as they receive additional information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
•A reminder of the AAPS COVID case reporting plan and this week’s update of the COVID Case Dashboard.
Full Text of this Message
As we move through this fall, awaiting vaccination availability for students under 12 years of age, we will continue to hold the health and safety of our students and staff, parents and community as our top priority. We will faithfully practice AAPS COVID mitigation strategies in our schools. We will continue to deploy proven tools: vaccination and universal masking indoors, improved ventilation and outdoor experiences integrated through the school day
Quarantine Learning Plan
During this 2021-2022 school year, students may need to learn remotely for periods of time, either due to quarantine, isolation or illness.
The Ann Arbor Public Schools is committed to ensuring continuity of learning for our students. We understand and value the strong connections between our AAPS teachers and their students, and we will work to ensure that students remain on track with learning during a health interruption.
For students in grades Y5 – 12th, our AAPS classroom teachers will post lesson materials, resources and assignments in their Schoology courses.
Over the coming days, we will share quarantine learning plan updates in more detail. At the elementary level, individual students in isolation or quarantine will have the opportunity to receive live, virtual instruction from a teacher on a separate schedule from their peers. Please note: this structure will be implemented as we are able to staff this support program over the coming days.
At the secondary level, students in isolation or quarantine will have opportunities to interact with content-specific designated teachers in each content area for live check-ins to ask questions about assignments or receive support in completing their work.
Your student’s teacher will remain connected within the Schoology course and via email to respond to questions and needs.
AAPS COVID Update
What We Are Observing in AAPS Cases
Since the week before school began, the AAPS COVID Response Team has been busy following up on hundreds of reports of cases or potential cases among AAPS students, staff and contractors. Through our school nurses’ detailed case investigation and contact tracing process, 23 individuals have been identified as being on a school campus during their infectious period. Student cases have ranged from Young 5s – 12th graders. At this time, cases reported in schools have originated from family and community (non-school) exposures.
We are tracking cases and school exposures carefully to determine if the Super Six mitigation strategies hold up against this number of cases entering school buildings.
We urge families to partner with AAPS in preserving our strong, full school opening by:
- Ensuring every family member who can be vaccinated is vaccinated
- Avoiding time indoors with unvaccinated people
- Wearing a mask in indoor public spaces
- Keeping your student home with any symptoms and seeking testing as needed.
Testing in the AAPS
Testing can serve as a useful tool in our work to mitigate the spread of COVID.
We strongly encourage testing for students and families if anyone in the household has COVID-19 symptoms or has a close contact exposure to a person with a probable or confirmed case. Many testing resources are readily available in our community.
The AAPS screening testing program for staff and contractors continues weekly.
As guidance for student testing and quarantine is clarified by the WCHD and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and our understanding of school transmission improves, AAPS will consider implementing additional protocols.
AAPS continues to develop plans for supporting additional testing efforts, and we will keep the AAPS school community updated as we make progress.
This week, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued new guidance for isolation and quarantine of students, which offers different instructions from last week’s order from the Washtenaw County Health Department.
The WCHD communicated to school districts today that they are seeking clarification from MDHHS and will inform school districts about new guidance next week.
In the Ann Arbor Public Schools, we anticipate amending current quarantine protocols once information is clarified, and we look forward to sharing updated information. Any adjustments to quarantine protocols will apply to students currently in quarantine.
AAPS Reporting of COVID-19 Cases
The Ann Arbor Public Schools has clear COVID-19 case notification and communication steps for COVID-19 cases in our schools, which includes the following steps;
- notifying individuals identified as ‘close contacts’
- notifying the classroom/group/school community in a notification letter
- posting the school notification letter to the school website.
These notification and communication steps are coordinated by the AAPS School Nurse or health team member, working in direct consultation with the Washtenaw County Health Department (WCHD) team and the school principal.
For the above steps to be completed as quickly as possible, it is essential that parents immediately report a student’s positive COVID-19 test to the school principal by calling the school office and/or emailing their student’s teacher and principal. In the case of student-athletes, this information may be reported to the coach.
AAPS District COVID-19 Dashboard
In addition to the communication steps listed above, the district AAPS dashboard will be updated each Friday with COVID-19 cases reported through the end of the school day each Thursday. COVID-19 cases will be updated by school, level and other groups to consistently update the AAPS community of COVID-19 cases and exposure in our schools.
In a COVID era, students, teachers and staff learning and growing together in schools represent a tremendous step forward. In the steps we take each day, we demonstrate our care and commitment to our children, to each other, to our Ann Arbor community and to our shared future. Truly, we are stronger when we work together.
Thank you for your continued support of our students and of the Ann Arbor Public Schools.