October 29, 2021 - Superintendent's Update


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

We have completed the first quarter, nine weeks, of school this fall. Though the daily school experience is very different as we practice our COVID mitigation strategies to help keep each other healthy and safe, our students and staff have settled into the daily rhythms of being back in school. To get a quick glimpse into one of our schools, check out 2 minutes at Eberwhite Elementary, one in our series sharing insights into the tremendous work going on in our schools this fall. 

Positive news this week includes additional information about vaccines for 5-11 year-olds anticipated to be available in the coming weeks. Members of our team are working alongside MDHHS staff to prepare to coordinate vaccination events in the AAPS, in addition to availability throughout the community, through pediatricians, at pharmacies, and other locations.

Availability of pediatric vaccines and booster shots are hopeful developments that will contribute to sustaining our schools as healthy places for our students and staff to gather and learn each day throughout this school year.

COVID-19 Response Team

Responsive Rapid Antigen Testing

  • Pop-Up Antigen Testing: During October, the COVID-19 Response Team provided pop-up antigen testing events at schools and programs with multiple cases. This ‘screening’ testing is for students and staff who may have been exposed to COVID-19 at school. Testing large groups also helps AAPS understand the potential spread of the virus at a particular school so we can take additional steps if needed. 
    • Pittsfield, offered to the whole school Oct. 1 and Oct. 11, total of 117 tests administered
    • Huron, football team, Oct. 7 - 21, 65 tests administered
    • Burns Park, offered to the whole school October 13 and 19, total of 172 tests administered
    • October Total: 354 tests completed during “pop up” antigen testing at three schools
  • Additional Student Testing: The COVID-19 Response Team has also provided testing at schools to classrooms, small groups of students in programs and individual students whose families face barriers to accessing tests.   

October Total: 92 tests completed at 13 schools (in addition to the three schools listed above)

There were 14 cases of COVID-19 identified through the above testing efforts. 

COVID-19 Case Update

This week we continue to see high COVID transmission in our Ann Arbor community. Our weekly AAPS COVID-19 Case Dashboard, updated today, reports 25 cases involving 17 schools and district locations. This number of cases continues a two-week downward trend, and the majority of these cases are among students. Our AAPS team remains in close communication with the WCHD about these and all cases in the AAPS. 

As the weather cools off, it is more important than ever for students and staff to remain home when experiencing COVID-like symptoms. In the cases we are seeing, vaccinated students and adults continue to be far less impacted by illness. It is clear that our high levels of vaccination in the AAPS provide substantial protection. We appreciate all who have been vaccinated, and we continue to strongly urge all who qualify to obtain a vaccination.

I want to share special gratitude for everyone on our team - our students, teachers, school teams and leaders, parents and our Ann Arbor community. All are working incredibly hard together, making efforts every day to support our students and sustain this exciting opening of our schools this fall. Step-by-step, we are making progress. 

In the actions and steps we each take every day, we demonstrate our care and commitment to our children, to each other, to our Ann Arbor community and to our shared future. Thank you for your support of the Ann Arbor Public Schools.

Sincerely, 

Jeanice K. Swift
Superintendent of Schools
Ann Arbor Public Schools