Dr. Shultz February 10, 2022 Update

Update on Mask Requirements Vs. Recommendations
Posted on 02/10/2022
Update from the Superintendent, Dr. Carl Shultz

BPS UPDATED COVID-19 PROTOCOLS AND GUIDANCE  

(Updated February 10, 2022)

Bedford Public Schools has worked vigilantly to maintain a safe and productive learning environment for students and staff members. The protocols included in this document are in no way an indication of permanent changes to our pre-pandemic learning environment and may change as our local, state, and national landscape improves or worsens based on positive or negative case data. This most recent update is believed to be a positive step in the right direction and is based upon updated local, county, and state COVID Data. Additional data that was used to determine appropriate and measured decision-making includes local, county, and regional district case data based on their current COVID Protocols (i.e. Masking requirements, quarantine and isolation process, and demographics). Finally, the widespread availability of vaccines for individuals ages five and up have helped to allow families feel more comfortable in a multitude of public settings. BPS will continue to highlight and respect student, staff, and family choices above and beyond any district-wide protocols that are in place to ensure personal comfortability. The guidance being utilized for the continued close-contact quarantine process and positive case isolation process continues to follow protocols established by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

VACCINATION:

As we have done throughout the pandemic, BPS supports and strongly recommends that all individuals be vaccinated as soon as they are eligible. BPS has collaborated and hosted four separate vaccination clinics in the previous twelve months. This includes the largest 1-day vaccination clinic held in the county with over 1,000 vaccinations administered. Currently, 80% of the BPS teaching staff and an additional large percentage of the district support staff are vaccinated. In addition, many of our district’s eligible students have also been vaccinated in part, thanks to the support of MCHD and our neighboring partner providers.

FACIAL MASKS:

Effective February 11, 2022, Bedford Public School will no longer require students, staff, and guests to wear a facial mask when inside of our district buildings. Bedford Public Schools will continue to recommend that all individuals strongly consider wearing facial masks and that individual factors such as personal health and medical tolerance, vaccination status, proximity to others based on situations, etc. are used in making personal masking decisions.

This change does not affect the district’s optional close contact test-to stay protocol or the reduced five-day positive case isolation option which will continue to include masking components.

This change does not remove the federal government’s mask requirement on transportation, which includes school buses. Everyone will be still be required to wear masks on our buses.

To ensure mask effectiveness, this diagram link demonstrates acceptable types of masks and proper wearing position for all individuals when inside district facilities.

CONTACT TRACING:

For the purpose of identifying close contact exposure, the district will continue to complete contact tracing when alerted of a positive case exposure within our schools and school related outside events. While each positive case is unique, a close contact is identified when an unmasked individual was within three feet of an unmasked positive individual for a minimum of fifteen minutes and had direct physical contact during the interaction. BPS district nurses will continue to make the final determinations on close contact cases based upon available information.

ISOLATION AND QUARANTINING:

Following CDC and MDHHS Guidance, the updated quarantine and isolation length is five days for both positive individuals who are symptom free and close contact exposures. The complete updated protocol for district isolation and quarantining can be found here: Updated BPS Isolation and Quarantining Protocols. Additional information regarding the updated Isolation and Quarantining protocol and options can be found using the following links:

Updated BPS Isolation and Quarantine Protocols Visual Graph

BPS Test-To-Stay Option Protocol

BPS Test-To-Stay Option Parent/Guardian Consent Form

BPS DAILY MITIGATION STRATEGIES:

Bedford Public Schools continues to successfully implement many mitigation strategies during the 2021-2022 school year. These strategies will be continued throughout the remainder of the school year or until our district’s key data metrics indicate a change is appropriate.

• All buildings within the district have now received updated HVAC units with improved ventilation thanks to the community approved 2018 district bond and supplemental federal COVID Relief Funds. The newly installed MERV 13 Air Filters provide additional contaminant filtering for improved classroom ventilation.

• Daily classroom and building disinfection utilizing 360-degree electrostatic disinfectant sprayers

• Daily scheduled hand washing break at the elementary level

• Hand sanitizer stations in every district classroom and main area

• Cafeteria seating to promote social distancing where available

• Limited building guests to ensure safe environments and limit outside exposure for students and staff

• Maximized classroom spaces by reducing non-essential classroom furniture and materials

• Increased classroom supply of disinfectant wipes for hard surfaces

• Increased number of water bottle filler stations across the district to eliminate water fountain use

ATTENDANCE:

During the 2020-2021 school year, amidst the pandemic, schools in Michigan were given flexibility around meeting the normal attendance for students. The State of Michigan legislature adjusted the Michigan School Code to relax these attendance requirements anticipating student and staff quarantines, as well as periods of remote/virtual learning.

In a typical school year, however, state law requires that students attend school for a minimum of 180 school days AND a total of 1098 hours. Additionally, in order for an individual school day to actually count as one of the 180 school days, at least 75% of students must be in attendance. On any given day, if fewer than 75% of students are in attendance, that school day will need to be made up. For the 2021-2022 school year, these laws are back in place with zero option for flexibility regardless of whether attendance at school is pandemic-related. Therefore, the Bedford Public Schools Attendance Policy is once again in place for the current 2021-2022 school year.

POTENTIAL ALTERNATE LEARNING MODELS:

Bedford Public Schools believe that in-person learning is the best learning model for a large majority of our students. However, In severe circumstances, BPS may be forced to transition from in-person to remote learning for a specific classroom, school building, grade level(s), or the district as a whole. If this transition becomes necessary, district leaders will outline the specific information that will help assist in the process. The 2021-2022 remote learning process includes students learning synchronously from their scheduled teachers using district approved remote learning platforms.

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