Dr. Shultz October 24, 2021 Update

COVID Protocols Updated
Posted on 10/24/2021
Update from the Superintendent, Dr. Carl Shultz

October 24, 2021
BPS Families, Staff, and Community,

As has been true for the course of this pandemic, data and information regarding the impact of COVID-19 changes rapidly. While reactions and responses to many aspects have been varied across the spectrum, the one constant that has served our district, and most importantly, our students, is our ability to remain flexible and responsive in the face of the changing landscape. In previous district updates, BPS shared our commitment to promoting the health and safety of our students and providing all students a high-quality learning experience. We remain committed to these goals and the belief that a balanced approach with layered mitigation strategies is the best way to consistently achieve these goals. The district’s balanced approach has included highly recommending the wearing of facial masks for all staff and students when inside district buildings, creating as much social distancing inside classrooms as physically possible, increased hand washing and sanitizing, daily classroom disinfecting, and close-contact tracing for every confirmed positive case with necessary quarantine protocols.

These measured approaches have served the district well as we have continued to provide in-person learning for our over 4,000 students for the first seven weeks of the school year. This is not to say that we haven’t worked through challenges and positive cases, it simply means that we have been able to manage the cases to this point without necessary changes. Unfortunately, for the first time this school year, Bedford Public Schools is being forced to temporarily convert two separate classrooms at the elementary level from in-person to remote learning due to the number of positive cases within each classroom. This is in addition to this week’s continued rise in positive COVID-19 cases across the district. Overall, the district is reporting 36 new student and staff positive cases over the previous seven days (not including two additional confirmed staff members from this morning) as well as the associated close-contact quarantines. Most concerning is the increased level of in-classroom virus transmission from one individual to another, which previously has been experienced within the district at much lower rates. The increased number of positive cases this week (and over previous few weeks) has placed our district in a position where we can no longer adequately and safely staff all of our classrooms, buses, and food service department on a daily basis. The result has been intermittent bus route cancellations, cancellation of elementary level specials classes on specific days, and now the temporary conversion of two classes to remote learning.

In response to this hopefully short-term district crisis, BPS will be implementing the following new district-wide COVID-19 protocols, effective immediately:

Masking- All students grade K-12, district staff, and visitors will be required to wear a facial mask when inside any district facility. (Additional information regarding this requirement is in the updated FAQ below).

Quarantine- The new updated masking requirement will significantly limit the number of student and staff close-contact quarantines which will assist in meeting our goal of maintaining high quality in-person learning.

Daily Screening Tool- District families are asked to utilize the provided District COVID-19 Daily Screening Tool each morning before school to determine if student’s are healthy enough to attend classes.

Disinfection-
The district will continue to disinfect all classrooms each day.

Handwashing and Sanitizing- The district will continue to increase the opportunities for student handwashing at the elementary level. Hand Sanitizer stations will continue to be offered throughout each building.

Social Distancing- All classrooms will continue to utilize as much social distancing between student workstations as possible. This includes having student desks facing all the same direction, and limited group type work while inside classrooms.

District Visitors- District visitors will be permitted on a limited basis while following updated protocols.

Air Filtration and Air Flow- All BPS school buildings have newer or updated air filtration units that provide increased air filtration and air flow return rates.

Building principals will continue to communicate with families to share ongoing mitigation measures throughout the school year. Once again, this is not an update that I wanted to write this year, but the changes in current status within the district, community, and county have left the district no other alternatives if we strive to educate our students in-person. The case trends nationally have been dropping consistently, including our neighboring states to the south and west. Michigan was one of the last states to see a Delta Variant case spike and as such will be the last to see it decrease. As soon as it is safe to do so, the district will revisit our new protocols and act accordingly. Thank you for your continued flexibility, support, and understanding. Our strong partnership ensures that we can continue to offer high quality and safe learning environments for all.

Respectfully,
Dr. Carl Shultz
BPS Superintendent


UPDATED DISTRICT COVID-19 PROTOCOLS FAQ

(Updated October 24, 2021)

In response to this hopefully short-term district crisis, BPS will be implementing the following new district-wide COVID-19 protocols, effective immediately:

Masking: All students grade K-12, district staff, and visitors will be required to wear a facial mask when inside any district facility. (Additional information regarding this requirement is in the updated FAQ linked below).

• To ensure mask effectiveness, the following diagram demonstrates acceptable types of masks and proper wearing position for all individuals when inside district facilities.
• Masks are not required when outside of district buildings.
• Student athletes actively participating in an indoor athletic event or practice are not required to wear masks during competition. However, when not engaged in physical participation of the event or practice masks must be work by student athletes and coaches (ie. Sitting on benches or standing on sidelines).
• Masks may be removed whenever actively eating or drinking when inside of buildings and must be replaced when finished.
• Students and staff members may wear school appropriate personal masks if they meet the criteria outlined in the diagram linked above. Students and staff members needing a mask when entering buildings will have them provided by the district.
• Any student or staff member that cannot medically tolerate wearing a mask should present authentic documentation from his/her medical doctor to the building principal or department director.

Quarantine: The new updated masking requirement will significantly limit the number of student and staff close-contact quarantines which will assist in meeting our goal of maintaining high quality in-person learning.

• Whether a student or staff member is vaccinated or not, no quarantine is required if they are a close contact to a positive case when following the district’s updated masking requirement (unless there are mitigating circumstances that would require quarantine consideration such as not always properly following masking protocols). If a student or staff member tests positive, the below protocol will be implemented for quarantine.

Protocol: 10-14 day quarantine from symptom onset date or positive PCR test date if asymptomatic

Daily Screening Tool: District families are asked to utilize the provided District COVID-19 Daily Screening Tool each morning before school to determine if students are healthy enough to attend classes.

Disinfection: The district will continue to disinfect all classrooms each day.

• Nightly disinfecting of classrooms using 360 Degree Electrostatic Disinfectant Sprayers

Handwashing and Sanitizing: The district will continue to increase the opportunities for student handwashing at the elementary level. Hand Sanitizer stations will continue to be offered throughout each building.

• District provided hand sanitizer is available for all classrooms and common areas within buildings.

Social Distancing: All classrooms will continue to utilize as much social distancing between student workstations as possible.

• Student desks facing all the same direction inside of classrooms or additional spacing provided when this design is not possible due to physical space limitations.
• Group type work assignments will be limited unless absolutely necessary in STEM, CTE, Arts, etc.

District Visitors: District visitors will be permitted on a limited basis while following updated protocols.

• Visitors or guests will be permitted within buildings on a limited basis as long as all updated district protocols are followed at all times.

Air Filtration and Air Flow: All BPS school buildings have newer or updated air filtration units that provide increased air filtration and air flow return rates.

• Classroom windows may also be utilized to provide additional fresh air exchange and circulation when appropriate.

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