April 23, 2021 - Superintendent's Update
Hello AAPS Parents and Students, Staff and Community,
We look forward to welcoming students in grades 4-12, whose families choose, to in-school hybrid learning on May 3rd; they will join students in self-contained and preschool through 3rd grade who have been participating in in-school hybrid learning this spring. We will continue, as we have committed from the beginning, to also offer a fully virtual learning experience through the remainder of this 20-21 school year.
While we are not out of COVID yet, there are many reasons for hope and optimism. With the opening up of vaccines to all 16 years+, consistent implementation of COVID mitigation strategies, readily available testing, and contact tracing to address cases when they arise in schools, we are well-prepared for a strong wrap-up to this challenging 20-21 school year.
We will continue to hold the health and safety of our students and staff, families and community as our top priority in all the decisions we make, as we have worked to do throughout this COVID pandemic. We continue to monitor the COVID case numbers closely each day in partnership with the Washtenaw County Health Department and other public health experts.
Spring State Assessments
As a result of this COVID pandemic school year, the Ann Arbor Public Schools will implement an opt-in approach to state assessments this spring. We have shared an announcement here, and more detailed information will be shared from your school principal.
Call to Action in Community
To ensure additional layers of protection in this school reopening process, we are sharing a call to action to work together as a community in the following priority areas to stabilize, reduce COVID case levels, and preserve the opportunity for our students, staff and families to experience a strong and healthy finish to the 20-21 school year.
We strongly urge students and families to support this effort in the following ways:
- Obtain COVID testing for all students prior to return to school and as needed during the coming weeks. It is advised that students and families are tested together when possible. Drive-thru testing events will be offered at our schools, and testing is free. The data from testing will be critical to inform our progress through this current COVID surge and reduce the number of COVID cases in our schools and community.
- Every member of our community aged 16 and above should confirm a plan to obtain COVID vaccination at the earliest possible date. Every vaccine we achieve in Ann Arbor contributes to a safer community for our students, many of whom cannot yet receive vaccination, and for all of us.
In addition, we will host vaccination clinics focused to support our students aged 16 and older; watch for more information coming next week. Many thanks to our community partners, Washtenaw County Health Department and Michigan Medicine, for their support with this important work to vaccinate eligible teens.
- Please exercise caution in any social gatherings with members outside the home family unit.
We understand that our AAPS families fall along a wide continuum of comfort, needs and preferences in choosing the best option for their children during this spring school quarter, and we know these circumstances may change based on COVID developments. Our AAPS spring return to in-school learning plan is designed so ALL parents have the option to choose for their student(s) to remain virtual at any time and for the remainder of the school year.
Back-to-School Fall 2021 & Start Date
We appreciate all your work and partnership to support our students as we navigate this COVID school year. We will continue to monitor the evolving COVID situation each day during the coming weeks and remain in close communication with our families, staff and community.
A solid return for those students who choose hybrid in-school learning this spring will set the foundation for the upcoming AAPS summer learning session and a full back-to-school return in the fall.
The robust Summer 2021 Learning Program offers many opportunities for continued learning, including for students with specialized learning needs as well as elementary, middle and high school offerings. Most programs are provided at no cost to families, and enrollment opens next week.
Preparations for a strong Fall 2021 Back-to-School launch continue. Exciting Kindergarten round-ups have been completed in every elementary school community during March, and spring enrollment and transition activities are unfolding now across our campuses.
We are all excited to welcome our students back to our schools for a full return to school, five days each week, beginning on Monday, August 30, 2021; the full-year school calendar will be shared with the community in the near future. We will continue, as a separate program, to also offer a fully virtual learning experience next year for those families who prefer this option.
Thank you for your partnership and support of our children, staff and this Ann Arbor Public Schools community.
Jeanice K. Swift