Dr. Shultz April 9th Update

Classes to Resume as Planned After Spring Break
Posted on 04/09/2021
Superintendent Update

April 9, 2021
Dear BPS Families,

As our Spring Break is quickly coming to an end, I wanted to take a moment to update families on a number of important topics relating to Governor Whitmer’s press conference this morning and recent changes to state-mandated COVID-19 quarantine timelines. Bedford Public Schools utilizes a data-based approach when making decisions regarding district learning plans and schedules. This process has served our students and staff members well throughout the pandemic and we intend to continue with this thoughtful and scientific approach as long as we are afforded this opportunity at the local level.

On April 5, 2021, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) released the following update relating to COVID-19 positive individuals and associated close contacts:

Effective April 5, 2021, Michigan has re-instituted a standard 14-day quarantine for positive individuals and close contacts of COVID-19 Cases. This will remove the option of a 10-day quarantine for non-variant cases. As a reminder, a 'test out of quarantine' strategy has never been adopted in Michigan.

Accordingly, this update will now revert the State of Michigan back to a full 14-day quarantine for anyone testing positive or identified as a close contact to the virus. The district, along with a majority of the state have been working under previous CDC and state guidance utilizing a shortened 10-day quarantine period when no symptoms were present. BPS will continue to utilize our existing close contact tracing processes for identifying individuals who will need to quarantine based on close exposure.

This morning, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer held a press conference regarding the spike in COVID-19 cases across our state. This update did not include any new pandemic orders or updates to existing orders currently in place. However, in her remarks, the Governor made a recommendation that high schools across the state should consider a two week pause for in-person learning to allow for a reduction in overall community-wide cases. She also recommended that all youth and school-related athletics be paused for the same period of time. The comments included that districts should consult with their local health departments as necessary when making final determinations.

Utilizing the district’s previously mentioned data review process, we can report that the district has not seen a large increase in positive cases in recent weeks. This is most likely due to the fact that BPS experienced the spike in positive cases earlier than many parts of the state which prompted a brief suspension of in-person learning at the secondary level in late March. Since returning to in-person learning at the secondary level for the two weeks prior to Spring Break, the district experienced significantly fewer cases (4 total). In addition, over the previous week of break we have received only four new positive cases and none that will require close contact quarantines affecting district students and staff. Therefore, Bedford Public Schools will remain consistent in our current in-person learning schedule upon returning from break this Monday. The previous suspension of in-person learning at the secondary level served our district well and is exactly what the Governor is recommending for districts that are in need of such a reset to help slow case numbers. The district will continue with weekly scheduled student athlete testing as mandated by the state. This process and other previously employed mitigation practices will keep students safe while participating in outdoor events.

Finally, I hope that our families and staff understand that these decisions are not taken lightly by myself, our Board of Education, or our leadership team. We have taken the following factors into account for this important decision: the significantly reduced number of district-wide cases after our recent suspension of in-person learning at the secondary level, the high number of teaching staff members (80%) and support staff members (75%) fully vaccinated, and the current schedule for high school students that will be in-person next week is already significantly reduced due to the state testing schedule. Overall, we are confident in our ability to remain in-person based on the data currently known. Of course, BPS will closely monitor our cases as we return this week and will make any necessary adjustments based on necessity as things can change quickly in the midst of a pandemic. If any family chooses to keep their child home to ensure a safe return from the break, students can maintain their academic progress through Schoology without any attendance-related penalty.

As always, I hope that this update finds you and your family safe and well and that everyone has had a restful break. If you or your student has tested positive or are experiencing any types of symptoms, please email your building principal or our district nurses before coming back into our buildings or student events. We are all in this together and we can do this well!

Dr. Carl Shultz
Superintendent, Bedford Public Schools

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