Superintendent Update

District Updates from Dr. Christina Hinds

Friday, November 13, 2020

Dear Wayland Union Schools Families and District Staff:


We have officially completed our first trimester of the 2020-2021 school year! As you have received many COVID-19 notification letters this week, you are aware of the increase in positive and quarantine cases we have experienced. Our experience mirrors the experience of many of our neighboring districts. Thankfully, to our knowledge, transmission is not occurring within our school buildings. We are in continuous contact with the Allegan County Health Department as we monitor our cases. We review each case and its impact on our students, wholeheartedly considering appropriate steps for our students and staff. Nevertheless, we need to continue our vigilance following safety protocols such as hand washing, social distancing, limiting gatherings, and wearing face masks. Safety is top priority. Wayland Union Schools needs your help in minimizing the spread of COVID-19. Our instructional model depends on it.


TRANSITION TO ENHANCED HYBRID MODEL OF INSTRUCTION:

On Monday, November 16, we will transition into our Enhanced Hybrid model of instruction. Please note: the hybrid schedule will remain the same. Group A attends on Mondays and Thursdays and Group B attends on Tuesdays and Fridays. Wednesdays will continue to be our virtual learning days.


The Enhanced Hybrid Model will include improvements to remote instruction each Wednesday in five areas:

  1. Live lessons
  2. Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)
  3. Office Hours
  4. Parent/Teacher Communication
  5. Drop-in Study Hall

You will receive additional notifications about the enhancements from your student's building and/or teacher(s).


As a reminder, we will continue to follow the Enhanced Hybrid Model until our school district falls within Risk Category C, for three weeks in a row, as determined by the Allegan County Health Department. We will continue to monitor COVID-19 cases and its impact on our district daily.


Please take good care of yourself and of others. Together, Wildcats, we will see our way through this time of uncertainty. We are Wayland UNION Schools.


In partnership,

Dr. Christina Hinds

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Together, Wildcats Fights COVID-19

A special thank you to our community partners who participated in our Wildcat Community Stay Safe Campaign, available at https://vimeo.com/477364080


With increasing COVID-19 numbers, please remember to follow all safety protocols at all times: physical distancing at a minimum of 6ft, wearing face masks properly, washing your hands, and staying home when you are not feeling well.


Our action TODAY determines how quickly we can move through this.


Thank you for protecting yourself and those around you!

FAQ: COVID cases are increasing. Will we close school?

With the number of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases and the number of people in quarantine, I have been asked if Wayland Union Schools will move to remote instruction. I am in daily contact with our partners at the Allegan County Health Department. At this time, we do not plan to move into remote instruction.


In August, we opted to follow a hybrid model of instruction to allow us to follow important safety protocols. Now, in November, we depend on those safety protocols to keep us in school. COVID-19 cases have greatly increased since the start of the year. Yet, we have learned so much about the disease and its transmission. We know our students depend on us to provide a consistent schedule with routines and stability. We know our safety protocols i.e., face masks and social distancing are working. Wayland Union Schools plans to provide the students consistency and stability, while at school, for as long as we safely can.


If we have transmission in a school building or we reach a point where we can not provide a safe, quality educational environment, we will work with the health department and determine parameters around a transition to remote learning. This could be a fast transition. In the spring, we had one school day to prepare for the closure. So, please begin to consider plans for your student(s) should a building or the district need to close. If we move to remote instruction, we will notify you through email, phone, and social media.

FAQ: What is a presumed positive COVID-19 case?

A presumed positive case is diagnosed by a physician who believes an individual is likely to have COVID-19 based on symptoms and/or direct contact with someone who is confirmed positive.


Procedurally, our school district has been advised to treat all presumed (or probable) positive cases as a confirmed positive. Once we receive notification of a presumed or probable positive case, as indicated by a physician, the school begins contact tracing and working with the health department. This is another mitigation measure to stop the spread of COVID-19 within the school building(s).

Wayland Union School District Risk Category, as of 11/10: "D"

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Review: How are Risk Categories Determined?

The Allegan County Health Department provides weekly guidance to local school districts based on their individual risk levels. Our local school district risk category is posted to the WUS website each Wednesday: https://waylandunion.org/downloads/covid_dashboards/wus_risk_category_chart_nov_11_2020.pdf


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:

  1. Cases per day per million
  2. Percent positivity
  3. Percent in the County with known source of exposure
  4. The number of deaths in Allegan County
  5. Proportion of ED Visits with COVID-like symptoms
  6. Cases in that school building and surrounding school buildings
  7. Ages of cases
  8. 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

Review: ECOL Reconfirmation Process

Every 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. Typically, our ECOL Plan will be addressed at each Board Meeting and reconfirmed at each Board Work Session. Our November ECOL Plan will be reconfirmed on November 23, 2020. Our December ECOL plan will be reconfirmed at the Regular Board Meeting on Monday, December 14.


Our revised COVID-19 Preparedness Plan may be found on our Wayland Union Schools website or at this link: https://waylandunion.org/downloads/covid-19/covid-19_preparedness_plan_rev_1.pdf

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