April 30, 2021 - Superintendent's Update

AAPS lead, care, inspire graphicHello AAPS Parents and Students, Staff and Community, 

This week’s Superintendent Update includes information about the spring return to in-school hybrid learning, a community call to action to prioritize the safe reopening of AAPS schools, summer learning, and back-to-school Fall 2021. 

We look forward to welcoming students in grades 4 through 12, whose families choose, to in-school hybrid learning on Monday, 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, we have several tools now to support healthy in-school learning in achieving a strong wrap-up to this challenging 20-21 school year, including vaccines available 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 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.

Community Call to Action

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 continue to 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. 
  • We hope every member of our community aged 16 and above will confirm a plan to obtain a COVID vaccination at the earliest possible date. We were delighted to see more than 200 individuals receive vaccinations at Huron High School on Thursday, including 100+ 16 to 17-year-old students. 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 continue to host vaccination clinics focused on supporting our students aged 16 and older. Many thanks to our community partners, Washtenaw County Health Department, Michigan Medicine, IHA and others 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. 

More details will be shared about Graduation and other end-of-year celebrations over the coming days in early May. 

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 return to school in the fall. 

Summer, 2021 Learning in the AAPS

The AAPS 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 is now open. 

Enrolling for Back-to-School Fall 2021 & First Day of School

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. 

Over these upcoming days of May, we will soon share information and request that existing students and parents to pre-register and confirm enrollment in the AAPS for Fall 2021. Our quality AAPS educational programming, featuring our top-notch teachers and staff, and including strong academics, visual and performing arts, STEAM and Project Lead the Way, athletic and enrichment opportunities will continue during the 21-22 school year. 

Students & families will continue to have the choice of a fully virtual learning program during the 21-22 school year; there is no hybrid instruction in AAPS programming for Fall 2021.

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