Dr. Shultz February 28, 2022 Update

Latest Update Removes Mask Requirement on Buses
Posted on 02/28/2022
Update from the Superintendent, Dr. Carl Shultz

BPS UPDATED COVID-19 PROTOCOLS AND GUIDANCE  

(Updated February 28, 2022)

On February 25, 2022, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) updated their published community risk levels with a new three tier “Community Levels” Guide. The updated guidance places Monroe County in the Medium COVID-19 Community Level. The main guidance for this level is as follows:

-- If you are at high risk for severe illness, talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need to wear a mask and take other precautions
-- Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines
-- Get tested if you have symptoms

In addition to the updated community risk level guidance, the CDC also removed the long-standing mandate requiring students and passengers riding on public school buses to wear facial masks at all times. These changes have been made possible by the significant decrease in new COVID-19 cases around the country, the lowest COVID-19 hospitalization rates since the summer, and increased abilities to combat the virus through vaccination and newly approved medications. Of course, any individual may choose to mask at any time. Individuals who are experiencing symptoms, received a positive test, or who are concerned for their well-being should also wear a mask. Based upon the newest updates from the CDC and our local community positivity and case data, the following BPS COVID-19 Protocols are in effect as of February 28, 2022.

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 twenty-four 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:

Bedford Public School will no longer require students, staff, and guests to wear a facial mask when inside of our district buildings or while utilizing district buses and transportation. Bedford Public Schools will continue to recommend that families and staff members act accordingly based upon their personal comfort level. District buildings will continue to make masks available for individuals that request them.

CONTACT TRACING:

Bedford Public Schools will continue to work with the Monroe County Health Department (MCHD) when students and staff members report a positive test. Individuals identified by the MCHD as a close contact will need to follow the MCHD guidance for quarantine. BPS officials will continue to maintain our current COVID-19 Data Dashboard located on the website. The Data Dashboard provides positive case and quarantine data for students and staff by individual building exposures. Individual classrooms that have in-school exposure will be notified directly through Schoology or parent email.

ISOLATION AND QUARANTINING:

Individuals that test positive or who are identified as a close contact exposure outside of school must follow the current MDHHS/MCHD Guidelines. Current MDHHS Guidance states that individuals that test positive, or who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should isolate for a minimum of five days. Individuals who are identified by MCHD as a close-contact must quarantine for a minimum of five days and be symptom free before returning to school or work. These individuals must report their diagnosis to the district nurses through email or telephone. BPS will be discontinuing the Test-to-Stay Program for students and staff based on current case numbers and the low level of participation over the previous month.

AVAILABLE TESTING SERVICES:

Bedford Public Schools will no longer maintain our Test-to-Stay Program based on this latest update for district protocols. However, individual buildings will continue to maintain a supply of COVID-19 test kits for staff and families that request a test for their child who is experiencing symptoms. A signed parent permission slip must be on file for a building health aid to perform a COVID-19 Antigen Test. Tests will not be completed without the signed form and parent permission for each test requested.

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, for an individual school day to 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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