Dr. Shultz August 23rd Update

BPS Fall 2021 COVID Protocol Update
Posted on 08/23/2021
Update from the Superintendent, Dr. Carl ShultzAugust 23, 2021
Dear Bedford Students, Families, and Staff,

With the support of our community, Bedford Public Schools was able to provide quality in-person learning throughout the majority of the 2020-2021 school year utilizing a flexible and balanced approach. BPS leadership worked tirelessly to ensure that we kept learning and safety at the forefront of our decision-making process. We also know that the decisions that we made, regardless if made by choice or mandate, were not always in alignment with every family’s personal beliefs. We recognize that this school year will bring much of the same, and while there are many differing views on the importance of COVID and the impact it should have on the school setting, we are absolutely committed to providing an even better experience for our students and staff members in the 2021-2022 school year.

To accomplish this goal, the district has reviewed and will continuously monitor an extensive number of variables and associated factors. A partial list of these key variables includes:

1) federal, state, and county health department requirements and recommendations,
2) local community, county, and state average positivity rates,
3) local community and in-district transmission data, and
4) number of confirmed positive cases and associated quarantines within the district.

As we have experienced throughout the pandemic, many of these variables remain very fluid and can change rather rapidly. District leadership will continue to work with our local and state health department officials to gather updated information and will share necessary changes with our community.

As described above, the district will utilize a multitude of data points when reviewing our current and ongoing COVID-related strategies. While this includes the daily and weekly reported case data from the CDC and the State of Michigan MiStart Map, it also will include more localized data shared by the Monroe County Health Department. This deeper review of positive local case data will help create the most accurate picture of the impact of COVID-19 on our community and avoid disparities in data caused by geographical and environmental differences throughout the county. One example of the importance of examining local data can be found by examining regional positive case data during the time period from August 1, 2021 through August 19, 2021. During this period, our Monroe County region reported 320 new positive cases of COVID -19. However, while Bedford Township makes up 21% of the county’s total population, only 15% of the county’s new cases during this reported period were located in Bedford Township. This means that Bedford Township is underrepresented in the region’s current positive case total. This data is fluid and can change, which is why we must continue to monitor and assess our plans and strategies.

As you can see there is a great deal that goes into the planning for the start of a new school year. This update hasn’t even begun to scratch the surface for the incredible amount of exciting new programs and opportunities that we have established going into the 2021-2022 school year. While COVID-19 may have created a great deal of uncertainty for staff and families, it has not been able to halt or slow down our district’s work toward creating the best learning environment in the area. Once again, I wish to reiterate that I hope we can all remain flexible in our thinking and understand that circumstances may cause us to alter plans at any time throughout the year, but our students and district will press forward. With this, I understand the importance of communicating our current plan and protocols to our families so you know what to expect and can prepare your children accordingly. The bulleted information below is the high-level view of the district’s current COVID Protocols for the start of the school year. A detailed version of
the district protocols can be found by following this BPS Fall 2021 COVID Protocol Link

Vaccination
• BPS Administration strongly supports that all individuals get vaccinated as soon as they become eligible.
• Vaccinated students and staff members who do not present symptoms will not be required to quarantine
unless they test positive.
• BPS is not requiring individuals become vaccinated and will not separate students or staff based upon
vaccination status while in school or participating in extra-curricular activities.

Facial Masks
• BPS Administration strongly recommends that facial masks be worn by all individuals (students, staff, and guests) while inside of our buildings.
• All individuals are required to wear facial masks while on district school buses per current CDC mandate.
• Facial masks will be available at each building and on every school bus.

Contact Tracing
• BPS Administration and Nurses will contact trace all confirmed positive COVID cases.
• A 3 feet social distanced protocol will be followed when conducting contact tracing for identifying close contacts. However, specific case information will also be used to make final determinations.
• Individuals who are deemed close contacts or potential close contacts will be notified by the district.

Quarantining
• Individuals testing positive will be quarantined for 10-14 days based upon symptom onset or test date.
• Individuals identified as close contacts through the district protocol will be quarantined 10-14 days if not fully vaccinated.
• Individuals who are properly wearing facial masks throughout the entire school day (except while eating, drinking, or when outdoors) regardless of vaccination status, will not be required to quarantine if he/she is identified as a close contact.

Daily Bell Schedule
• All district buildings will be operating on their traditional BPS Bell Schedule (including lunch schedules).
• Guests and classroom visitors will be limited during the school day at each school building.
• BPS student attendance policies will be reinstated for all students to ensure the district meets the strict State of Michigan Attendance Guidelines for Public Education.

Continued Mitigation Strategies
• All district buildings/classrooms have now received updated HVAC systems for improved air circulation and filtering.
• Hand washing schedules will be used for elementary, and all classrooms will have hand sanitizing stations.
• All classrooms will be disinfected nightly using 360-degree electrostatic sprayers.

If we do need to transition from this plan, I hope our school community can support the decisions made by the district and remember that we are all doing our very best for the children of our community. I truly wish you and your children a successful school year and can’t wait to welcome you all back in a few short weeks! We Can Do This Mules!

Respectfully,
Dr. Carl Shultz
Superintendent, Bedford Public Schools
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