Superintendent Update

From the Office of Dr. Christina Hinds

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Thursday, October 7, 2021

Dear Wayland Union Schools Students and Families,

This update provides an overview of:

  • Elevated behavioral incidents;
  • Swivls, which are new devices to assist teachers with offering instructional opportunities to our students who are quarantined due to COVID-19; and
  • COVID-19 Updates including ACHD Quarantine Determinations.

Elevated Behavioral Incidents:

We have been experiencing elevated behaviors this year. Our students have not experienced a "normal" school year in two years. Learning expectations and facing school pressures again is not an easy task for our students. In my last update I shared the Parent-Student-School Compact. I am hopeful this led to productive conversations with your child(ren).

You may have heard or read about the potential incident with alleged drink tampering at our Homecoming Dance? Please know the Wayland City Police is continuing with their investigation. As soon as I have a substantial update, I will share with staff and parents/guardians. Today, there was a fight, between two students, during first lunch despite staff being in close proximity. Tensions are high, given all that we continue to endure as a community and as a nation; however, aggressive behavior only escalates tensions.

By committing to safe, caring, and respectful behaviors, we nurture the environment in which students and staff want to be in. If your child(ren) has any concerns about their well-being at school, please communicate with your child's teacher(s) and building administrators. We are here to support ALL students and need to hear from you as we may be unaware of concerns.

Together, let us nurture the Wayland UNION which we know and love.

In partnership,

Dr. Christina Hinds

Instructional Programming for students in COVID-19 Quarantine/Isolation

Last month, I wrote to you about the introduction of Swivls, a recording/streaming device, which increase access to instruction for our students who are quarantined. This article will provide more information about this instructional programming for our students in quarantine/isolation.

One of the concerns we have heard frequently over the past year and a half is how COVID-19 has disrupted the education of our students. This is a concern that we share. Last year the district utilized Google Classroom to continue to provide instructional materials and content to students when they were not at school in-person. In response to the many concerns we heard over the loss of instructional time with a teacher, the district purchased Swivls for our teachers to help facilitate instruction for students who are not able to attend school due to COVID-19 quarantine or isolation.

Instead of needing to remain in front of their computer or iPad, the teacher can put their iPad in the Swivl and it will follow them. This device allows the teacher to continue to provide authentic instruction to students who are in the classroom while also allowing students who need to be at home due to COVID-19 quarantine or isolation the opportunity to receive instruction.

In the event that your child needs to be in quarantine or isolation, their teacher(s) will provide them with directions on how to access video instruction. Some teachers are providing live streaming while others are recording lessons and providing them in Google Classroom later that day.

The district has heard concerns from parents and staff regarding student privacy both for students at-home and in class. The following information addresses these concerns:

  • Synchronous/asynchronous instruction will be provided through Google Classroom through your child(ren)’s school-account. Their account is password-protected. The link will only be shared through Google Classroom. Instruction which is live-streamed or uploaded will not be open to the general public.

  • Administration consulted with legal counsel, since these videos are only being shared with students in the classroom, privacy is not a concern. If anyone (parents, students, or teachers) were to share a video outside of the classroom or for a purpose other than their own instruction, it would be a violation of the district’s Acceptable Use Policy and subject to discipline. Violations of the Acceptable Use policy could result in revocation of the ability to participate in/access Swivl.

  • During the 2020-2021 school year, we were unaware of anyone editing or distributing Zoom/Google Meet sessions.

We know that the Swivl/Zoom cannot fully replace the high-quality instruction that students receive when they are in school. Our intention is to provide students with a way to keep up on their studies and stay connected to their class(es) as we continue to navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For additional questions about Swivls, please contact your child's teacher, building administrator, and/or the Assistant Superintendent of Instruction.

Wayland Union Schools COVID-19 Prevention Strategies

With the recent change to the Allegan County Health Department (ACHD) public health order regarding face masks, I wanted to provide an overview of the Wayland Union Schools current COVID-19 prevention strategies:

  • Face masks are recommended for students and staff, but not required.
  • Daily symptom screenings for students and staff at their home prior to coming to school

  • Students and staff who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms will remain at home (or be sent home should they become symptomatic after arriving at school)

  • Reminders of frequent hand washing/hand sanitizing throughout the school day

  • Daily cleaning

  • Contact tracing to notify those who are close contacts with an individual who is confirmed positive or probable for COVID-19.
  • ACHD monitors buildings for any linked cases or ongoing transmission.
  • Space available to partner with ACHD to host mobile vaccination clinics on-site after student hours and/or on non-student days.

  • Space available to partner with ACHD to host COVID-19 testing clinics (utilizing WUS facilities and ACHD staff)

We will continue to work collaboratively with the Allegan County Health Department by weekly communication on community transmission and other health-related topics.

ACHD has revised their school quarantine guidance. Please see the infographic below to review how quarantine determinations are made. Wayland Union Schools is not offering student/staff COVID-19 testing at this time. We have offered our facilities to partner with ACHD to become a testing hub; however, we do not have the staffing capacity to offer testing as prescribed in the chart below. If you opt for a reduced quarantine as stated below, parents/guardians will need to find a rapid testing location. A second infographic explains how to work through any COVID-19 symptoms which your child(ren) may experience. As a reminder, please do not send your child(ren) to school if they are sick.

While waiting to hear from the health department, close contacts are able to attend school if they are not experiencing symptoms. Once the health department notifies parent/student of a quarantine order, the student shall not report to school.

Thank you for your partnership and collaboration as we work to keep students healthy and in school.

Allegan County COVID-19 Guidance

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Frequent COVID-19 Questions

My child is positive. Now what?

  • Students who are positive must remain at home until their quarantine date expires.
  • Report the positive result to the building office and to your resident health department.
  • Access school work through Google Classroom and contact the teacher for access to live/recorded lessons.

What do I do if my child is a close contact?

  • Monitor for symptoms
  • Wait for the health department to inform you about the need to quarantine. As long as your child(ren) does not have symptoms, you may attend school UNTIL you hear from the health department. Once the health department advises you to quarantine, you may not return to school until the quarantine expires.

Revised: How Does ACHD Make Quarantine Decisions?

Food Service and Transportation Updates

Food Service Supply Shortages

Just as restaurants and grocery stores struggle to keep supplies high, our food service department experiences similar issues. Please understand that food substitutions may be made as supply quantity is low. Thank you, in advance, for your understanding!

Bus Driver & Substitute Driver Shortage

As you are aware, we have experienced days when we are unable to fulfill our daily bus service. Bus routes have been canceled due to driver illness. Bus driver substitutes are also a shortage. If you know anyone who is looking for employment, is willing to become trained, and who enjoys working with children, please send them our way! We need substitute bus drivers in order to run our routes.

With this in mind, please have a back-up plan if your child's bus route is canceled. Absences will be unexcused when students weren't able to attend school due to the bus route cancelation. We will work diligently to provide daily, complete transportation services as regularly as possible.

Superintendent Community Connections