From Jeanice K. Swift, Ann Arbor Superintendent of Schools
As an Ann Arbor Public Schools community, we have come a long way in this COVID crisis. While the public health concern continues, the arrival of the COVID vaccine and a potential in-school antigen testing program represent significant progress on the horizon.
At this time, we set our direction toward a transition to offer an in-school hybrid learning option available for all students, beginning the transition process in early March. This summary email includes highlights about this transition; the full message can be read here. We will continue to share additional information as we move through this process together.
Our goal remains to offer students the opportunity to begin an in-school hybrid learning model as soon as possible in the safest way possible; through this next phase, health and safety will continue as our top priority. We respect that wide differences of opinion exist across the spectrum on issues surrounding the timing of a safe transition for staff and students; our transition plan allows for parent choice.
During the remainder of this 20-21 school year, we will provide families with a choice to continue with virtual learning remotely or a choice to engage in hybrid in-school learning. In both options, students will continue in their 20-21 daily virtual classes under the care of our capable AAPS teachers and staff.
The Ann Arbor Public Schools are targeting to begin the transition for students to hybrid in-school learning, starting with Stage 1 in early March 2021, pending significant progress in vaccination of school personnel and a reduction in the overall level of community COVID infection.
Specific dates will be recommended by the Superintendent, approved by the Board of Education and confirmed with staff and parents, families and community at least two weeks prior to the return of students at each stage for those who choose the in-school hybrid learning option.
Stage 1, targeted to begin in early March, will include:
– PK, Y5 and Kinder students who choose a hybrid, in-school learning model,
– students with high-level specialized learning needs (self-contained classrooms) at all levels, and
– small groups of middle and high school students most in need of in-school learning support.
Following Stage 1, Stages 2 through 4 will occur at approximately one-week intervals, dependent on significant progress in the school personnel vaccination process, ongoing monitoring of district and community COVID infection numbers and monitoring of any factors that would inhibit a safe and healthy reopening of schools.
Stage 2, targeted to begin one week following Stage 1
will include 1st and 2nd-grade students who choose a hybrid, in-school learning model.
Stage 3, targeted to begin one week following Stage 2
will include 3rd through 5th-grade students who choose a hybrid, in-school learning model.
Stage 4, targeted to begin post-spring break, will include the transition of middle and high school students who choose an in-school hybrid learning model. More precise timelines for the transition of middle and high school students, by grade level, will be shared during February.
Transition to in-school learning timelines are subject to adjustment, depending on the progress of the COVID vaccination process for school personnel, ongoing levels of school/district COVID infections and community spread and other emergent issues that could impact a healthy and safe return to in-school learning.
We understand that it will take all of us focused and working together in our Ann Arbor community to support our students, staff, schools and community to ensure a safe and smooth transition during this next phase of this 20-21 school year.
You can find more information regarding the transition planning, COVID-19 vaccination for AAPS staff and next steps in the complete message here.