District Updates from Dr. Christina Hinds
Friday, January 8, 2021
COVID-19 Press Conference
Dear Wayland Union Schools Families:
This afternoon, Governor Whitmer and Dr. Khaldun held a press conference providing a COVID-19 update and how it relates to K-12 instruction. The purpose of this letter is to reiterate our instructional model and our reconfirmation process as it relates to the press conference.
Governor Whitmer and Dr. Khaldun are advising “all school districts offer an in-person learning option for students as soon as possible, and no later than March 1st.” A seven-page guidance document has been published: State of Michigan Guidelines for Operating Schools Safely. This document is a revision of previous guidance documents, such as the MI Safe Schools Roadmap, which are now considered obsolete. Wayland Union Schools will review the revised guidance and will ensure our instructional model aligns with its recommendations and procedures.
At this time, Wayland Union Schools will continue the Enhanced Hybrid Model with Group A Mondays and Thursdays; Group B Tuesdays and Fridays; and All Remote Wednesdays.
We look forward to bringing all students together when it is safe to do so. Procedurally, we will continue our process of monthly reconfirmation meetings held at Regular Board Meetings and Board Work Sessions. Our next reconfirmation discussion will be during the Board Meeting, held virtually, on Monday, January 11, 2021 at 7:00pm.
This update will also provide a link to discuss this week's events at the Capitol with your students, a review of our current instructional plan, a review our reconfirmation process and a review of our collaboration with the Allegan County Health Department through their established risk categories.
While we continue to forge through these times, we will continue to stand together for the success of our students. We are Wayland UNION Schools!
Dr. Christina Hinds
Our Nation's Capitol
Current Instructional Plan and Reconfirmation Process
Wayland Union Schools Current Instructional Plan:
As you recall, Wayland Union Schools Board of Education approved a plan for a gradual return to full-time instruction based on data provided by our local health department. Currently, we are following the Enhanced Hybrid Model: Group A Mondays and Thursdays; Group B Tuesdays and Fridays; and All Remote Wednesdays.
Our current plan states we will remain following the Enhanced Hybrid Model until the Allegan County Health Department moves Wayland Union Schools into Risk Category C for three consecutive weeks. The Risk Categories are posted to our website on a weekly basis. At the beginning of the fourth week (at Risk Category C), we will transition into the "Super Hybrid Model," which is a full return, with all students, four days per week: Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Wednesdays will remain a virtual day.
The final phase in our return to full-time instruction follows a similar plan. When we are able to follow the Super Hybrid Model for three consecutive weeks at Risk Category B, Wayland Union Schools will transition (at the fourth week) to a “Full Return” for all students attending five days per week.
Please see the infographic demonstrating our graduated return to school plan as adopted at the October 26, 2020 Board Meeting.
Each month, our Board of Education will reconfirm our Extended COVID-19 Learning Plan. The process will review public comment(s); our instructional model; and student attendance/participation. Our ECOL Plan will be addressed at each Board Meeting and reconfirmed at each Board Work Session. The scope for the year is described in the graphic below. This month our ECOL Plan will be discussed on Monday, January 11, 2021 at the Regular Board Meeting, held virtually, at 7:00pm. The ECOL Plan will be approved for January/February on Monday, January 25, 2021 at the Board Work Session at 6:00pm.
Current MDHHS Guidance
To safely offer in-person instruction, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) continues to support the following safety protocols to control COVID-19 transmission:
Wearing masks is especially important for controlling COVID-19 transmission and masks should be worn inside schools by all staff and students, except during meals and in other limited circumstances. Face masks may be made of cloth or may be disposable surgical-style masks.
When feasible, assigning children to cohort groups and limiting their interactions to their cohorts to reduce the number of contacts.
Keeping children 6 feet apart from one another to the extent feasible, making creative use of school spaces to facilitate distancing.
Providing adequate hand sanitizing supplies and reinforcing proper handwashing techniques.
Improving air ventilation.
Having staff and students conduct self-screenings for symptoms at home every day before going to school.
Ensuring school plans are in place in coordination with their local health department if there are any positive COVID-19 tests.
Having staff and students who either test positive or are close contacts of those who test positive follow the guidance issued by MDHHS as well as local health departments. Anyone who is considered a close contact of someone who tests positive but does not have symptoms should quarantine for 10 days under CDC guidance.
Wayland Union Schools Enhanced Hybrid Model continues to follow all of the advised safety protocols keeping the safety of our students and staff at the forefront of our minds.
Wayland Union School District Risk Category, as of 1/8: "D"
A Review: How are Risk Categories Determined?
The Allegan County Health Department provides weekly guidance to local school districts based on their individual risk levels. Risk categories are not simply about cases per day per million. Several sources of data are reviewed when determining a school district's risk category. When developing the school district guidance, the Allegan County Health Department considers the following:
- Cases per day per million
- Percent positivity
- Percent in the County with known source of exposure
- The number of deaths in Allegan County
- Proportion of ED Visits with COVID-like symptoms
- Cases in that school building and surrounding school buildings
- Ages of cases
- Is there any ongoing spread in the building?
As cases in Allegan County continue to increase, the ACHD is closely monitoring the source of exposure of cases and determining whether this poses a risk for schools staying open. The ACHD prioritizes in-person learning as long as social distancing, proper mask use, other mitigation strategies are being utilized, and no ongoing virus spread in buildings are maintained.
While new cases within Allegan County are at risk level E (daily cases per million above 150), the Allegan County Health Department places Wayland Union School District at a Risk Category "D." This category is based on the consideration of all factors mentioned above.
For additional countywide data, please see the Allegan County COVID-19 Dashboard at:https://alleganco.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/c05e1ec6222944748968f351273b3d41 or the MI Start Map at https://www.mistartmap.info