Governor Whitmer announced recently that teachers and other school personnel are eligible for COVID-19 vaccine as part of 1B, the next group in line. In Washtenaw County, out of the 80,000 total number of people eligible in 1B, about 16,000 are school personnel. The Washtenaw County Health Department has stated that it could take 8-12 weeks to vaccinate all school personnel who are part of 1B. More information about vaccination timing is available here: https://www.washtenaw.org/3269/COVID-19-Vaccination
While all AAPS staff are included in the 1B category, the Washtenaw County Health Department is currently prioritizing only school personnel who over the age of 50. Nurses and self-contained classroom teachers and paraprofessionals were included in group 1A.
No. Vaccination for COVID-19 is encouraged, but not mandated. Vaccination status is private medical information protected by HIPPA.
Currently, it is not possible for AAPS or other community organizations to set up COVID-19 vaccine clinics for several reasons. First, the state has authorized certain entities to oversee the distribution of vaccines, including the Washtenaw County Health Department and Michigan Medicine. These entities have the capacity to vaccinate hundreds or thousands of people each day. Finally, the supply of vaccine doses is extremely limited, and requires ultra cold storage in special freezers. AAPS does not have the facilities necessary to store the vaccine.
No. Currently there is no FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine available for anyone under 16.
Bathroom fans will be run during occupied hours to create negative pressure in the restrooms and minimize the flow of air from restrooms back into hallways or classrooms. All forced air hand dryers are being disabled, and touchless paper towel dispensers are installed. Hand washing reminder signs will be posted both inside and outside of all restrooms, and building custodians will regularly sanitize restrooms. In addition, AAPS is in the process of converting all restroom plumbing fixtures to touchless operation.
What is the District doing to maintain school buildings and ensure they are in good shape during the
AAPS is taking several steps to ensure building systems are in good working order, including running the Heating Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems twice per week for 2 hours, flushing all plumbing fixtures twice weekly, replacing all HVAC and water filters, and deep cleaning the buildings.
What preparations are being made for ventilating buildings with fresh air when students and staff re
AAPS has an extensive Building Automation System (BAS) that controls each school building’s HVAC systems. The District has modified this system to increase outside air ventilation to levels 20-40% above current school building code requirements, depending on outside air temperature and humidity levels. In addition, all HVAC filters are being replaced, and the frequency of replacement has been increased. When possible, the minimum filter rating will be MERV 8 and, when feasible, MERV 13.
Drinking fountain bubblers represent a significant concern for the spread of diseases and are being removed. When feasible, the bubblers are being replaced with water bottle fillers. In addition, in the hallways, buildings will have operational touchless water bottle filling stations at a rate of no less than 1 per 100 building occupants. All filters on the water bottle filling stations have been changed. Students and staff will be asked to bring their own water bottle to and from school each day. If a student or staff member forgets their water bottle, recyclable paper cups will be available.
Furniture will be arranged to maximize social distancing, and a zone will be designated for the teacher. Hand sanitizer will be provided in each classroom. When feasible, windows will be opened to further enhance ventilation, and doors will be propped to minimize touch surfaces where possible. Each evening the classrooms will be sanitized using CDC cleaning protocols.
Plexiglass dividers will be installed at all transaction locations in the offices. Hand sanitizer will be provided, and seating will be arranged (and/or removed) to maximize social distancing. Visitors will be directed to wait outside the office as necessary to allow for appropriate social distancing.
Yes, busing will be available to eligible students. This year we are asking families to subscribe to bus service so that routing is more efficient. Families may opt into bus service anytime during the school year after a two-week scheduling period per request. Students will be expected to wear a face mask on all buses and specialized transportation services, and use the supplied hand sanitizer before entering the bus. During appropriate weather windows may be opened to improve air circulation.
Yes, AAPS will continue food distribution service but it will be adjusted to occur on Wednesdays, the asynchronous learning day and some sites may be modified. This will be communicated to all families.
Additionally, for students who return to in-person learning, food will be sent home with students on either the Tuesday or Friday of their designated learning day to cover the days when students are in virtual learning.
Teaching and Learning
Hybrid learning is an educational model where some students attend class in-person, while others join the class virtually from home. Educators teach students attending in-person and students attending virtually during each instructional block.
Students will be a part of either Cohort 1, Cohort 2 or an all virtual cohort.
- Cohort 1 students:
- Monday - Tuesday: Attend school in-person
- Wednesday - Friday: Attend school virtually
- Cohort 2 students:
- Monday - Wednesday: Attend school virtually
- Thursday - Friday: Attend school in-person
Cohorts are groups of students and staff within a school building who interact mostly only with each other. The goal is to limit the number of people anyone is exposed to and to reduce the number of people in each classroom.
Cohorting is an important tool in minimizing the risk associated with physical interaction. By limiting the number of people in the cohort, fewer people will need to quarantine should exposure occur and social distancing can be achieved.
Students will be assigned to a cohort based on first letter of last name.
AAPS Hybrid Schedule
When not attending in-person, students will attend school virtually. Wednesdays remain asynchronous virtual learning days for all students.
Based on school populations, cohorts may be adjusted to accomplish balance. For example, an individual building may be cohorted A-M and N-Z.
We will ensure that families in the same household remain in the same cohort.
We will begin phasing in the following students for hybrid, in-person learning when safe to do so:
- Students in Self-Contained Placements PK-12
- Preschool Students
- Young Fives
- Kindergarten Students
- Learning Centers - Identified Students Grades 6-12
As previously communicated, AAPS families will always have the option to remain fully virtual as we proceed through the phases of our Reimagine Learning Plan.
Families choosing to remain fully virtual will be assigned to the similar schedule and classroom community.
Students will continue to receive daily instruction virtually in much the same way they are currently experiencing. Some changes are to be expected as teachers work with students in person and those online.
As it becomes safe to do so, families will be given the option to return to in-person learning, following our hybrid instruction plan, or to remain fully virtual.
Families will be asked to complete a survey sharing their decision to either remain fully virtual or to return to hybrid instruction.
In order to prepare for hybrid instruction safely, families can expect to receive this commitment form in the coming weeks.
Safety is critical in our return to in-person learning.
In order to ensure that appropriate safety protocols and training are in place and to ensure that each and every classroom is appropriately distanced and balanced, families will make their commitment in advance of the transition to hybrid learning.
Michigan Department of Education (MDE) recognizes the significant effort districts have made in following their continuity of learning plans during this time, and the variety of approaches they have taken to support their students’ educational needs. MDE also recognizes some specially designed instruction, related services, and supplementary aids and supports may not have been provided and may have resulted in a regression of skills or affected the student’s ability to make progress in the general curriculum. Therefore, in some cases, students with IEPs may benefit from recovery services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout this document, the MDE Office of Special Education will refer to recovery services due to COVID-19 pandemic as “recovery services.”
Recovery services are not a mandatory requirement nor are they a remedy identified under IDEA or the Michigan Administrative Rules for Special Education (MARSE). Recovery services are supplemental to the offer of Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) and are in response to foregone learning that may have occurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent school building closures and the potential additional impact of the loss for a student with an IEP. Recovery services are also intended to support achievement of the annual goal(s) and allow the student to make progress in the general curriculum without further delay.
To be clear, recovery services are not the same as nor replace any future compensatory education award required by 20 U.S.C. § 1415(i)(2)(C)(iii) of the IDEA. Compensatory education is part of due process complaint procedures and is a possible remedy when it is determined that a school district denied a FAPE to an individual student. Compensatory education is typically awarded as a result of an educational loss identified in a state complaint final decision by an administrative law judge in a due process hearing, or due to identified noncompliance as a result of State monitoring activities.
When determining whether recovery services may be warranted for students with IEPs, IEP teams should consider whether there has been a regression in skills and the extent to which the student failed to make progress toward their IEP goals as well as the general education curriculum. The most effective way to determine whether a student has regressed or failed to make progress and the need for recovery services is to:
- consider the individual student’s progress compared to the progress of same grade peers during the interruption of instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- In the event the student’s regression is at the same rate of the regression of all students, no further consideration for recovery services is warranted.
- Examine the individual student’s progress on IEP goals from the last source of data before the interruption of instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic and compare the data to the student’s current level of performance as determined by the district.
When progress is slower than peers the district should consider whether the student requires recovery services and/or interventions through an equitable multi-tiered system of supports. When there is no progress data available, the district should review the student’s current skill level as compared to grade level expectations or performance prior to the interruption of instruction.
When determining whether and to what extent recovery services may be provided, the IEP team should consider whether or not it is reasonable for the student to regain the skill and make appropriate progress within a reasonable period of time, without the need for the services. However, if the student’s level of performance is significantly below where it was when schools were closed due to the emergency order, recovery services may be warranted. The IEP team should also consider whether the student requires new services and supports which were not previously provided, to assist in reducing the impact of any foregone learning. These recovery services are designed to enable the student to resume making progress in the general curriculum without further delay. New services may be necessary, for example, if a student with an IEP has emerging mental health needs or has become significantly disengaged in the learning process while learning from a distance.
Much of the data to be analyzed is contingent upon whether the student was able to learn effectively through remote instruction. In addition, the extent and quality of the special education services provided during the interruption of instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic must be considered, as well as whether the IEP goals were addressed through learning from a distance. The IEP team should also consider the amount of review and other activities which may be provided to all students in order to address foregone learning; and consideration of information from the district’s equitable multi-tiered system of supports will also be vital in making these determinations.
The timeframe pertaining to the consideration of the foregone learning is limited to the mandatory school closure outlined in Executive Order 2020-05 and the additional conditions for completing the 2019-2020 school year outlined under Executive Order 2020-65.
Determinations about whether and to what extent recovery services are warranted should be made as soon as possible after sufficient data has been obtained to make the determination and no later than December 2020. In prioritizing these determinations, districts should first consider students who did not receive special education services, were unable to access special education services during learning from a distance or have newly identified needs which require recovery services for a successful return to school.
Student and Staff Safety
AAPS follows guidance from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the CDC to implement key mitigation measures shown to decrease the risk of COVID-19 transmission in schools. Everyone in the school community has a role in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in buildings, including students, parents/guardians and staff. These mitigation measures include masks, physical distancing, cohorting, ventilation, cleaning and public health protocols such as prescreening and staying home when sick.
AAPS will provide complete information and tips to families prior to returning to school face-to-face. Precautions for students and families will include: completing a COVID-19 symptom pre-screener before coming to school; wearing masks all day except when eating or drinking; and following physical distancing rules within classrooms and throughout the school. Please see School Safety Protocols for more information.
Yes, while masks are required for all students and staff on buses, on school grounds and inside schools, each school will have a supply of masks for staff and students. Staff and students may opt to bring their own masks. Hand sanitizer will be available and expected to be used in each school including at the entrances and in every classroom. Soap and paper towels are supplied in each bathroom. Staff also have access to face shields, gloves and paper gowns for specific classrooms such as self-contained instruction rooms, the clinic and isolation areas.
All students are deeply encouraged to use an AAPS issued device to ensure the most effective and efficient use of instructional time. This way, students will have 1) access to all of the needed software, web apps and shortcuts used in the instructional setting, 2) devices that are consistent in capability, programs, security and storage, and 3) devices that are maintained, updated and repaired by the AAPS Tech Tech.
The Student & Family Tech Help Desk (734-997-1222 or Ayuda en Español: 734-997-1246) is staffed by Tech Team members, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For after school hours or on the weekend, you can leave a voicemail message and/or send an email with the technology problem to email@example.com. Additionally, CLICK HERE to access a Tech Tips for Families document that outlines common technology issues and solutions.
The district works with families who are having connectivity issues or are in need of internet access. Please call the Student & Family Help Desk at 734-997-1222 or Ayuda en Español: 734-997-1246 between the hours of 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
AAPS utilizes a cloud-based web filter called Securly to keep students safe on their school-issued devices. To help parents monitor their child’s online activity, AAPS has made available the free Securly Home app. This application allows web-based filtering and parental controls on school-issued devices at home. Parents may set rules to allow or disallow certain websites, pause the internet connection to the device as desired, and receive weekly usage reports. To OPT-IN to the Securly Parent Portal service, please follow the steps highlighted below:
- STEP 1: Read about the AAPS Securly Parent Portal 2020-21 opportunity available to all families within the district.
- STEP 2: Sign-up on the Securly Parent Portal Opt-In Form.
- STEP 3: Look for an email from Securly when your account is ready to go (it can take up to 48 hours).
- STEP 4: Download the Securly Home App from the App Store (iOS) or Google Play Store (Android).
- STEP 5: Navigate the App to explore different views into your child’s online safety and check out the AAPS Securly Parent Portal FAQs.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to the Student & Family Help Desk at 734-997-1222.
Every family situation is different. We have found that some parents collect the device after the school ends for the rest of the day, some parents have their child charge the device in the parents bedroom overnight, and some parents require that their child use the device in a common area in the home where they can be closely monitored. It’s important to find a safe place to set-up a district-device during the school day and also at night time to ensure no unintended damage occurs.
Here are some suggested best practices for caring for a district-issued device at home:
- Use only a soft, lint-free cloth to clean the device. Avoid towels, paper towels, and other abrasive materials that may scratch surfaces.
- Unplug all external power sources, devices, and cables before cleaning.
- Don’t spray cleaners directly onto the devices.
- Keep liquids away from devices.
- Always remember to find a safe place to store your device when it is not in use so it doesn’t get damaged.
- Charge your device each evening after daytime use.