March 17, 2020 - Building Closure/Employee Health Message
We hope that you are as well as you can be on this Day 2: AAPS COVID-19 Closure.
AAPS Team, there is no roadmap for this path we must walk together over the coming weeks; clearly, we are in uncharted territory. Yet if there is any message for all of us in this public health emergency, this COVID-19 worldwide viral spread certainly illustrates how profoundly interconnected we all are to each other. More closely than we often recognize, we are all connected, and I am so very grateful for each of you today on our AAPS team. We understand that it is our relationships with family and friends, and our connections with each other that will carry us through this very difficult time.
There are two pressing items that we need you to be aware of today.
For the health, safety, and security of all in the Ann Arbor Public Schools, all school buildings will be closed starting at 5 PM tomorrow, March 18th. This will allow the custodial staff time to prioritize the CDC Cleaning & Disinfection Protocol, an enhanced cleaning for education environments that includes disinfection with a high focus on critical touchpoints. Once this cleaning is complete, buildings will be placed in a ‘lockdown’ mode until further notice.
If you have any supplies or personal items in your building that you will want during the coming weeks, please make plans with your building administrative team to remove them by 5 PM tomorrow. We do understand that some entrance into buildings by mission-critical personnel may occur as we distribute technology over the remainder of this week, yet please understand that in the interest of health, safety and security, all our schools will remain fully secured beginning at 5pm tomorrow.
As educators, this is an important time for all of us to recall Maslow’s Hierarchy and the primacy of achieving physiological, safety and belonging needs before attending to higher-level aspirations. Let’s consider this hierarchy frame to model our approach to our work together during this time of closure.
We are inspired by what we already see as our AAPS teachers and staff go to amazing lengths to provide support and outreach for our students and families, yet it is also critically important to take time to focus on our own health and well-being. Here are tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on how to protect yourself from COVID-19. Even though most of us are working remotely just now, let’s remember to check in on our friends and co-workers as well, and ensure that we have confirmed networks in place to remain regularly connected throughout this time.
In addition to physical health, stress and anxiety caused by the uncertainty around COVID-19, the closure of AAPS, and the requirements of social distancing may impact mental health. It’s important that we reach out through phone calls and texts to our work family and make sure we stay connected to help get through this challenging time together.
If you are uncomfortable reaching out to coworkers, friends or family regarding stress or depression or would prefer a confidential discussion with an Employee Assistance Professional, please call Life Balance at 1-877-858-2147 or visit their website at www.LifeBalance.net.
Though there is no roadmap for this path we must walk together over the coming weeks; clearly, we anchor ourselves in what we share together - our calling to serve children, our connections to each other on this team, and our partnerships in outreach to support students and families within our amazing Ann Arbor community.
Jeanice K. Swift
Superintendent of Schools