Superintendent Update

District Updates from Dr. Christina Hinds

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Dear Wayland Union Schools Families:

On Monday, January 25, the Wayland Union Schools School Board approved an expedited plan to transition to a full-time in-person schedule. This update is to further expand upon the press release issued Monday evening regarding Wayland Union Schools transition to full-time in-person instruction. I am confident you have many questions and this update is intended to provide you district-level answers. Additional communication will be sent by individual buildings in the coming weeks.


At the end of October 2020, the Wayland Union School Board approved our graduated return to school plan which was based solely on the risk categories assigned by the Allegan County Health Department (ACHD). As we have experienced, Wayland Union Schools remained at a Risk Category "D" since the adoption of the plan. With new research and developments, the Allegan County Health Department revised their format in providing local school districts' guidance. As discussed at the Monday, January 11, 2021 Board Meeting, the ACHD is no longer assigning risk categories to local school districts; therefore our Extended COVID-19 Learning (ECOL) Plan needed to be revised.


As part of the Wayland Union Schools ECOL Reconfirmation Process, the Board of Education requested a revision to the instructional plan which included an expedited plan to full-time in-person instruction. Please note: The Allegan County Health Department supports students' return to full-time instruction with continued safety mitigation measures as research and county-level data shows that COVID-19 is not spreading in school buildings. To date, Wayland Union Schools has experienced only two epi-linked (spread in the school building) cases.


On Monday, January 25, at the Board Work Session, four different instructional plans were presented and two additional plans were developed through discussion. The Board of Education approved an instructional plan which will increase in-person instruction for all students beginning Monday, February 15, 2021. Please see an outline of important upcoming dates.


The State of Michigan also published revised guidance titled "Operating Schools Safely." You may review the document using this link: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/coronavirus/SCHOOLS_GUIDANCE_V3_712458_7.pdf

This guidance document eliminates all previous requirements to operate Michigan schools, such as the MI Return to School Roadmap. The new guidance is not legally-binding and provides a framework for schools to operate safely. Wayland Union Schools has reviewed this guidance and will establish mitigation measures with our full-time schedule. Please note: Face masks will continued to be required by all students and all staff members at all times, except during meals or with an approved medical exemption. If you believe your student would be eligible for a medical exemption for a face mask, please complete the following form and submit to your students' building principal: https://waylandunion.org/downloads/covid-19/mask_exemption_wayland_union_schools.pdf. Additionally, Wayland Union Schools will provide social distancing, to the extent possible, in each space. Further information regarding school operations may be found in an article below titled, "School Operations."


The Board of Education Extended COVID-19 Learning (ECOL) Plan Reconfirmation process will continue on a monthly basis by reviewing data provided to us by ACHD, our instructional model, public comment, and participation (attendance) rates. The next ECOL Reconfirmation is scheduled for Monday, February 8, 2021 Regular Board Meeting.


After reviewing the information included in this newsletter, if you have continued questions, please reach out to your students' teacher. They will be able to provide clarity and/or point you to the most appropriate person who could. As a reminder, I have included the link to the "Who Should I Call?" document: https://waylandunion.org/downloads/parent_forms/who_do_i_call.pdf


In our brief time working together, we have experienced change. In our hybrid model, we were able to offer consistency and stability for our students. In the revised model, we will continue to offer consistency through our daily schedule. We will continue to respond promptly when we learn of positive cases and begin our COVID-19 protocols. For some families, the decision to return to school is a celebration. For other families, the decision may cause concern or worry. Let us continue to respect each other, right where we are, regardless of any differing views which we may have. If you have unresolved concerns, please reach out to us. We are in this together FOR our students. They continue to watch our reactions and look to us for guidance and calm. Together, as Wayland UNION Schools, we will navigate this transition with grace, care, and understanding.


In partnership,

Dr. Christina Hinds

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Continued Collaboration with the Allegan County Health Department (ACHD)

The Allegan County Health Department supports our transition to full-time instruction. They will continue to collaborate with Wayland Union Schools as cases arise and continuously monitor our data. The Allegan County ACHD will send bi-weekly data reports to school district superintendents, which will include county- and school district-level data, and a school-checklist of considerations when determining the appropriate learning modality (in-person and/or remote).


Ongoing collaboration with ACHD regarding individual cases and learning modality (in-person or remote instruction). If ACHD determines a building has epi-linked cases, students and staff will transition to remote instruction.

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Transitioning from Hybrid to Full-time Instruction

IMPORTANT DATES


Monday, February 8 - Friday, February 12:

  • Last week following the hybrid schedule
  • Wednesday, February 10th - Adjusted schedule allowing time to prepare classrooms for transition to full-time instruction. Office hours will be posted; however, Zoom sessions are cancelled for the day. Additional February 10th details are forthcoming from your building administrator


Monday, February 15 - Thursday, February 18:

  • All Young Fives-12th grade students students will attend school in-person


Friday, February 19 and Monday, February 22:

  • Midwinter break: No school for students and instructional staff


Tuesday, February 23 - Friday, February 26:

  • All Young Fives-12th grade students will attend school in-person


Monday, March 1 - Friday, March 5:

  • All Young Fives-12th grade students will attend school in-person
  • High School Exam Week: Please watch for high school updates


Monday, March 8:

  • All Young Fives-12th grade students will attend school full-time five days per week
  • Third trimester begins


Friday, March 12:

  • No school for students or staff


Monday, March 15:

  • No School for students - Teacher Professional Development Day
  • Remainder of school year will follow the published Wayland Union Schools calendar

Instructional Update: Google Classroom

Wayland Union Schools will continue to utilize Google Classroom for all content across all grade levels. This is a proactive measure which eliminates dual lesson planning when students and/or teachers are sick and/or working remotely in the event of illness or quarantine.

School Operations

Arrival/Dismissal Procedures

  • Student temperature checks will be optional at the bus and at the building entrance (due to limited time at entrances and the importance of home screening)

  • Hand sanitizing stations

  • Directional signals for crowd control


Elementary Instruction (Classrooms and learning spaces)

  • Face masks required for all students and staff, at all times indoors, except meals and/or with approved medical exemption
  • Face masks worn as specified by CDC: multiple-layer mask covering nose and mouth at all times, except meals and/or with approved medical exemption
  • "Mask breaks" only allowable with medical documentation
  • Handwashing practices reinforced and scheduled

  • Seating charts

  • Social distancing, to extent feasible, within each classroom and learning space

  • Students remain with learning cohorts all day unless receiving intervention or IEP services

  • Specials: Students transition to specials classroom with cleaning between students/cohorts (All elementary buildings)


Secondary Instruction (Classrooms and learning spaces)

  • Face masks required for all students and staff, at all times indoors, except meals and/or with approved medically exemption
  • Face masks worn as specified by CDC: multiple-layer mask covering nose and mouth at all times, except meals and/or with approved medical exemption.
  • "Mask breaks" only allowable with medical documentation
  • Signs to reinforce handwashing techniques
  • Seating charts
  • Social distancing, as feasible within each classroom and learning space
  • Desks cleaned, by instructional staff and students, after student transitions
  • Cleaning supplies and/or sanitizing wipes available in each classroom

Common Areas
  • Elementary playgrounds divided by cohorts
  • Face masks required at all times indoors, except meals and/or medical exemption


Food Service
  • Grab & Go Breakfast in classrooms (elementary) and in cafeteria (secondary)
  • Supervised lunch in the cafeteria
  • Procedures to facilitate a controlled flow to reduce crowding
  • Cafeteria tables sanitized between lunch periods
  • Elementary: Students seated, in the cafeteria, with their classroom/cohort
  • Secondary: Students seated in the cafeteria
  • Food Service Staff will continue to wear face masks, use barriers, wear gloves, and wash hands often


Transportation

  • Optional student temperature checks upon boarding the bus, due to time constraints and validity when standing in the cold
  • Face masks required, at all times, by students and drivers, unless approved with a medical exemption
  • Seating chart for contact tracing
  • Family members/households seated together


Custodial Services/Cleaning
  • Classroom cleaning will occur during prep periods
  • Deep cleaning will occur each evening
  • Additional deep cleaning when positive case(s) occur
  • Cleaning supplies available in each classroom


COVID-19 Screening Process

For students:

  • Screen at home prior to boarding the bus or coming to school, including daily temperature checks
  • Optional temperature checks upon entry to school
For staff:
  • Screen at home daily and/or complete daily screener available through District Google form


COVID-19 Quarantine Procedures

  • Designated COVID-19 Contact Person in each building
  • COVID-19 procedures continue
  • Contact tracing conducted for direct school contacts
    • Anyone within 6 ft for more than 15 minutes over a 24 hour period, at school, will be identified as a school direct contact

    • Confirmed positive cases and direct contacts are required to stay home in isolation as directed by their local health department

    • At this time, per CDC and ACHD guidelines, vaccinated staff members must continue to quarantine if identified as a direct contact with a confirmed positive case

  • Building and District Communications continue


Overarching Safety Protocols in All Environments

  • Face masks required, by all staff and students, at all times indoors, except during meals or with approved medical exemption
  • Face masks worn as specified by CDC: multiple-layer mask covering nose and mouth at all times, except meals and/or with approved medical exemption
  • For full description of correct face mask usage, see Mask Up, Mask Right: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/coronavirus/Mask_Up_Mask_Right_v8_710595_7.pdf
  • Face masks available to staff members in the main office, as requested
  • Social distancing, to the extent possible, in each setting


HVAC
  • All filters are changed regularly according to manufacturer specifications


Water Fountains, Filling Stations and Testing

  • Water fountains will remain closed
  • Water filling stations available
  • Water tested in October/November 2020. Determined clean and safe for drinking.


Visitors

  • Limited to essential tasks with principal pre-approval

Student Food Service

As a reminder, breakfast and lunch are still provided free of charge to all students through June 4, 2021.


No sign ups are required if eating at school during a regular school day.


Please note: A la carte items and special drinks are not included.


VAAC parents: Please see notation in the VAAC section.


Additional Food Service information may be found here: https://www.smore.com/zqgd4

Student Transportation


With the decision to return to full face-to-face there will undoubtedly be many calls looking for adjustments in transportation. Reach out to: transportation@waylandunion.org


WUS will treat calls for changes/updates similar to the start of school:


  1. Transportation change request by February 5, it is doable.
  2. Transportation change request by February 10, it is possible.
  3. Any change requests after February 10 will take 3 business days.


Be sure to check your Infinite Campus portal for updates.


Bus routes will run as established - some route times will be affected. Families will be contacted if their students' route is effected.


Be sure to be outside 10 minutes earlier than your current pickup time.


Thank you for your collaboration!

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VAAC Enrollment and Transfers

Transferring from WUS In-Person Instruction to VAAC

Immediate Enrollment/Transfers to VAAC

  • For immediate enrollment, VAAC will accept transfers to the fully virtual (on-line) school through Wednesday, February 3.
  • To enroll your child(ren) with WUS, please complete this form.

Third Trimester VAAC Enrollment

  • For third trimester enrollment, forms will need to be completed and submitted by Friday, March 5.
  • Third trimester for VAAC begins on Monday, March 8th, which is the same date for WUS.
  • To enroll your child(ren) in the Virtual Academy of Allegan County, please complete this form.


Transferring from VAAC to WUS In-Person Instruction

For immediate transfer to Wayland Union Schools

  • Current VAAC families who wish to enroll in full-time in-person school at Wayland Union Schools may request to return in person until Wednesday, February 3.
  • To have your students return to in-person learning at Wayland Union Schools, please complete this form.


For third trimester transfer to Wayland Union Schools

  • Current VAAC families who wish to enroll with Wayland Union School for the third trimester (full-time in-person school), families may submit a request a transfer form no later than Friday, March 5.
  • To have your students return to in-person learning at Wayland Union Schools, please complete this form.


For Food Service Questions, please see the following: https://www.smore.com/zqgd4

Update: ACHD Vaccination Clinics

Vaccination Clinics:

The Allegan County Health Department, the Allegan County Emergency Management Services and Wayland Union Schools have partnered to offer vaccination clinics here on our campus. All clinics are managed and operated by Allegan County. Vaccination clinics will be held each Saturday in February at the High School Auxiliary Gym: Feb 6, 13, 20, and 27, pending vaccine availability.


Please note: Appointments for the Allegan County Clinics, even those held at WUS, will be scheduled through the ACHD COVID-19 Sign-Up Form. If you have not completed the vaccination sign-up form AND you would like the vaccine, please complete the sign-up form. The ACHD is scheduling based on priority groups established by the State of Michigan. If you have additional questions, please visit the Allegan County Health Department COVID-19 website at: http://cms.allegancounty.org/sites/Office/Health/SitePages/COVID19.aspx


Here are the links to the sign-up form as well as a sign-up form FAQ:


Allegan County Vaccination Sign-up Form:

https://allegancounty.iad1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_06CvPLKrb5vgkPX


COVID-19 Vaccine Sign-Up Form FAQ: http://cms.allegancounty.org/sites/Office/Health/SiteAssets/SitePages/COVID19/Frequently%20Asked%20Questions-%20I%20want%20COVID-19%20Vaccine%20Form.pdf


As a reminder:

Although housed on our campus, the clinics are managed completely by Allegan County.

ACHD will contact those who have submitted the sign-up form by order of receipt AND by priority group.

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