- Ann Arbor Public Schools
- Superintendent's Messages
August 19, 2022 - Fall 2022 COVID and Health Guidance
Hello AAPS Community,
We are grateful and excited to share that our AAPS schools will be fully open for academic, enrichment and community activities during this 2022-2023 school year. The goal is to keep students learning in school while balancing the risks of illness and transmission among students and staff at school.
Tools, steps and systems that will continue to serve us well in protecting against all respiratory illnesses, and setting the course for a successful 22-23 school year, include:
Strict adherence to the critical health practice of monitoring your student for symptoms and remaining home when experiencing symptoms,
staying current with COVID vaccination and boosters, now available for all age groups, six months and older,
enhanced ventilation, including more frequent and comprehensive replacement of air filters across all school and district buildings,
increased use of outdoor settings for learning, activities, and breaks during the day,
support for at-home testing, as supplies allow, and
close and continuous school/district monitoring of COVID staff and student cases and rapid response by AAPS COVID Response Team to potential clusters and outbreaks.
And as always, ensuring your child is up to date on all of their vaccines is important to ensure a healthy school community.
The Ann Arbor Public Schools will always remain a mask-friendly environment. We understand that masking indoors is an important prevention strategy that many will continue to practice.
Fall 2022 Guidance on masking in AAPS schools:
Masks are strongly recommended indoors when CDC Community Level is ‘HIGH’- RED
Masks are encouraged indoors when CDC Community Level is ‘MEDIUM’ - Yellow
Masks are welcomed indoors when CDC Community Level is ‘LOW’ - Green
Beginning August 29th, the decision for when to mask will be made by the individual/family, except in specific circumstances, as noted below.
Families will be encouraged to discuss with their children their own best approach to masking at school based on their circumstances. Individuals at higher risk for severe illness should consult with their health care provider about masking. Anyone with concerns should wear a well-fitting mask; masking will always be supported and affirmed in our Ann Arbor Public Schools.
As we have over the summer, each week on Friday, we will communicate the current CDC Community Level so that all students, staff and families are aware and can plan appropriately for the following week.
Signs confirming the CDC Community Level with associated masking guidance will be posted at school entrances and also shared in weekly communication from the school/district.
We will use a responsive approach this fall, and as circumstances change, such as an increase in cases or outbreaks, classrooms, groups or schools may be required to mask for a period of time, such as two weeks, or until case counts diminish.
Also, please note that currently, in keeping with WCHD or federal guidance, masking is required in some situations, such as when returning from isolation, in preschool classrooms, during clusters or outbreaks, in health care areas such as the school nurse’s office and during some health care services, e.g., hearing/vision screening. Masking may also be required in other situations, such as when safe school operations are at risk due to staff cases.
** In summary, masking will be required in certain high-risk situations, such as returning from isolation and during clusters/outbreaks, and is strongly recommended when CDC Community Levels are High. **
Reporting & Notification
Staff and students (parents) must report when a positive COVID-19 test is confirmed.
A link for reporting student cases will be provided before school begins.
Staff and parents will be notified when a classroom or group (for example, an athletic team) has reached a 10% case count and provided with further instructions. Notification about individual cases will no longer occur.
Isolation for Individuals Who Test Positive
Students and staff who test positive are required to isolate at home for a period of five days and may return on days 6-10 if: fever-free for 24 hours; symptoms have significantly improved; and able to wear a tight-fitting mask indoors through the 10-day period. AAPS strongly recommends testing on day 5 before returning to school on day 6 and continuing isolation until receiving a negative test result.
Individuals Identified as Close Contacts
During clusters or outbreaks, students and staff may be identified as close contacts. Quarantine is no longer required for close contacts. Students and staff who have experienced an exposure must wear a well-fitting mask for the 10 days post-last exposure to the individual who tested positive. Close contacts should also test on day 5 post-exposure, or sooner if symptomatic, and follow isolation guidelines if testing positive.
Please Note: The AAPS may adjust guidance as needed during the school year in response to changing circumstances, including increased cases, outbreaks or concerns impacting health and safety, and to achieve the priority of keeping our schools fully open. Any adjustment to school or district COVID guidance will be communicated to all staff, students and parents and made in the interest of our priority of keeping the health and safety of our students and staff paramount.
What Can We All Do To Keep Students in School
5 Actions to Take During all CDC Community Levels for Staff, Students and Families
Stay up to date with vaccinations and boosters
Stay home when sick or symptomatic
Know when to mask indoors
Be ready to test at home
Know what to do with a positive result or exposure
We are excited to begin this 2022-2023 school year and are confident that by working together, we can support the health and safety of our students, staff and families throughout this school year. Additional support for families with language and other needs will continue to be provided. School nurses will be available to answer questions and concerns as the school year begins.
We continue to be grateful for family and community support and partnership as we navigate another year with COVID-19. With this new AAPS COVID-19 health guidance and in using an adaptive approach to adjust as circumstances change, we are taking definitive steps to care for each other and ensure a strong school year of learning and growth for our students.
More detailed AAPS COVID guidance, including links for parents/guardians to report cases, will be posted to the district COVID protocols page by August 26.
An informational AAPS Fall COVID and Health Guidance Information Session will be held via zoom on Tuesday, August 23, 2022, at 6 PM; the link will be shared with the AAPS community prior to the event. A recording of this session will be posted to the a2schools.org website for on-demand viewing following the session.
Jeanice K. Swift
Superintendent of Schools
Ann Arbor Public Schools