March 13, 2020 - COVID-19 Update


 
Ann Arbor Public Schools COVID-19 Update
March 13, 2020

Certainly, this has been a challenging week as we have transitioned today into a district-wide school building closure phase of this COVID-19 situation. In an effort to keep our students and staff, parents and community informed, we want to share this update this evening.

Like so many things in our lives just now, learning, school and work will look different from this day moving forward. Plans are evolving, and though we don’t have all of the answers you may be looking for, we want to share highlights of what we know at this time and when we anticipate sharing additional information.

We will ‘make the path by walking it together’ - in this update we will share responses to both the priorities we hold and the questions we are hearing from the community.

While much will change beginning today, the core values of our work will endure; we will continue our focus on our children, we will continue learning together, and we will continue outreach and support of our students and families.

First, I want to thank our exceptional teachers, administrators and other staff members across our 32 schools for their efforts today to prepare our students for this unprecedented closure of our buildings and the transition to engaging our students in learning through home-based and online learning activities during this time.

Engaged in Learning at A2Schools.org

Though the format will be different, during this time of necessary physical separation, we will all be learning together in the Ann Arbor Public Schools.

Students and teachers were able to connect during the half-day on Friday, and now teachers will focus on preparing to transition learning for this new chapter. Students and parents can expect to hear more next week.

In addition to core academic learning, students and parents will have access to a wide variety of enrichment activities and opportunities.

Instructional updates will be posted through our a2schools.org website and via email from teachers.

Cleaning Plan

During this time that we are away from our physical school buildings, members of our custodial team will complete the CDC Cleaning & Disinfection Protocol, a deep-cleaning of each of our AAPS buildings. This process will support our return to buildings that are clean and ready for us to learn. 

During this critical time, I know we will all do our part. The community response over recent days focused on supporting our students is truly overwhelming and heartwarming. We promise to continue our regular informational updates through this difficult time, and thank you for your partnership and support of our children, staff and of the Ann Arbor Public Schools.

Technology Pick-up 

To ensure all of our students can stay engaged online, we shared at school today surveys to determine the technology needs they will have while we are out of the buildings. For students that were absent today, or haven’t completed a survey yet, parents can expect to receive an email this weekend to determine if a device or internet will be required. These devices will be distributed from our neighborhood schools next week.

Food Service

Beginning on Monday, March 16th, we will have approximately a dozen food pick-up locations to ensure students will continue to receive meals while AAPS buildings are closed. Full details are available on the A2 Schools COVID-19 web page. Pick-ups will be scheduled from 11 AM to 12:30 PM. For families that can’t access these locations or have allergy concerns please call our food hotline at 734-994-2265.

We are grateful for our partners at Chartwells, Durham Transportation Services, and the Ann Arbor Police Department who will be assisting us with these drop-offs. 

We appreciate the outpouring of community support we have already seen from so many businesses, non-profits, and other community organizations to help meet the needs of all of our students. If you know of someone who needs food, please encourage them to visit Food Gatherers website or call 734.761.2796 to be linked with community resources. If you want to help, please consider making a financial donation.

Community Resources

To help parents and students, we have created a web page with a wide variety of community resources. This includes sections dedicated to food, urgent needs, and social supports. Additionally, we have a section on activities to keep your children engaged while they aren’t at school. This includes free online learning opportunities from the Ann Arbor District Library and Khan Academy. Please feel free to share additional resources, as we will be updating this list.

Rec & Ed

As part of the AAPS effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Rec & Ed will be canceling youth and adult activities from this afternoon, March 13, through Sunday, April 5. In addition, Spring Break camps scheduled for March 30 to April 3 are canceled. One of Rec & Ed’s core purposes is to promote health and wellbeing in the community. While we are disappointed to cancel our enrichment and recreational programs, we know that it’s the best way we can help fight COVID-19 in our community.

We understand that some community members who have registered for a Rec & Ed class, spring break camp, child care, or a sport that is scheduled to occur during the school closure time period are anxious to hear news about the status of their payment. Please visit aareced.com for updated information.

Rec & Ed is also exploring ways to offer online enrichment for youth and adults. Please keep an eye on our website and the Rec & Ed Facebook page for more information.

Finally, we want to remind you that student, staff, and family health is our top priority. The CDC has an excellent web page called Taking Care of Yourself and Your Family. It offers a wealth of information, including how to be prepared, what to do if you get sick, and caring for someone who is sick. In addition, be sure to stay informed about local COVID-19 activity on the Washtenaw County Health Department website. 

Sincerely,

Jeanice K. Swift
Superintendent of Schools
Ann Arbor Public Schools