Dr. Shultz January 6th Update

Recommending Return to Previous In-Person Instruction Model
Posted on 01/06/2021
Update from the Superintendent, Dr. Carl ShultzJanuary 6, 2021
Dear BPS Families,

I hope that the New Year has found you safe and well. Ever the optimist, I am looking forward to what this flip of the calendar will bring for our students and district as a whole. In my previous Superintendent Update, I reiterated that the district is continuing to monitor relevant local and county COVID-19 case data to assist with making the recommendation for our next steps toward returning to in-person learning. I also detailed that the district’s current full-virtual model of learning would be once again evaluated at the upcoming January 7, 2021 Board of Education Meeting.

Based on this ongoing review of data, I am pleased to be able to report that the number of weekly-confirmed cases has decreased steadily over the past thirty days in both Monroe County and Bedford Township. Monroe County experienced a slight increase between the weeks of December 25th and January 1st presumably due to the Christmas holiday, but otherwise has decreased overall by 50% from a month ago. In addition to the decrease in confirmed cases, there have been other significant factors that will positively affect our district’s ability to move toward a return to in-person learning. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the State of Michigan have recommended a reduction in the length of time that an individual who has tested positive or has been identified as a close contact should remain quarantined if no symptoms exist from 14 days down to 10 days. The reduced number of quarantine days will assist district leaders in being able to keep our classrooms and supporting departments adequately staffed. Finally, the rollout of available COVID-19 vaccines across the nation should further support our efforts. Educational staff members have been placed in the Phase 1b Vaccination Group nationally which means that individuals interested in receiving a vaccine could be vaccinated beginning as early as next week across the state (location depends on current/future vaccine stockpiles).

In consideration of the updated data and newly available supports, I will be making a recommendation to our Board of Education during tomorrow evening’s meeting that Bedford Public Schools return to our previous In-person Cohort Learning Model beginning Monday, January 11, 2021. Prior to the suspension of in-person learning, the district had sent out the student learning program selection survey for 2nd Quarter. Unfortunately, the timing of the in-person learning suspension did not allow the requested program changes to be implemented. This means that because there are only three weeks remaining in the 2nd Quarter, all students will remain in the learning programs that they were participating in before the suspension of in-person learning began.

During Thursday’s meeting, district leadership will also discuss plans for returning the district to a more traditional schedule of in-person daily learning for all grades K-12. Due to the mandated health and safety mitigation strategies in place throughout the district, even our return to a more traditional type-learning schedule for all students that is more in line with what families and teachers are familiar with will look a bit different than we are used to in BPS. As soon as final details are complete, district leaders will share this information with the community. The goal for transitioning from the cohort learning model to this more traditional type model will be to begin at the start of the second semester (February 1, 2021). Of course, any further steps toward this next level transition will require our COVID-19 case numbers to remain consistently lower.

As always, I hope that this update finds you and your family safe and well and I look forward to being able to share additional positive news over the next couple of weeks.

Respectfully,
Carl Shultz, Ph.D
Superintendent, Bedford Public Schools
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