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BPS Fall COVID Protocols

*THE FOLLOWING EMAIL WAS SENT TO THE BPS COMMUNITY ON MONDAY, 8/16/2021

Dear BPS Families,

Beginning Monday, Aug. 23, BPS will require all students and staff in grades pre-K through 8 to wear masks during indoor activities. Students and staff in 9-12 and post-secondary will be required to wear masks while our county is in the Substantial or High transmission levels as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Currently, Oakland County is in High transmission. This will continue for the start of school, beginning Monday, Aug. 30. This shift from our communication on July 19 represents our continued commitment to review data and focus on keeping students in school for the duration of the school year. 

On July 19, we shared our protocols for the 2021-22 school year. At that time, our level of community transmission in Oakland County was Moderate, and the CDC and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) strongly recommended masks for unvaccinated individuals only. 

Since our July communication, MDHHS has released two updates. The latest update from MDHHS strongly recommends that school districts require masks. Today, the BPS Central Leadership Team spoke with the Oakland County Health Division (OCHD) to clarify anticipated guidance. A vital factor in our decision was the statement from OCHD that quarantines may be eliminated when an individual is vaccinated or both parties are masked and at least 3 feet apart from one another. Our focus is to provide a full year of in-person learning and our new guidelines will aid in keeping our students in school for the duration of the school year. 

Mask mandates to support in-person learning  

A driving factor at play this year is to keep our students in person for the duration of the school year. Therefore, following conversations with OCHD and updated recommendations from MDHHS, we will: 

  • Mandate masks for all students while indoors for grades Pre-K through 8 during all Low, Moderate, Substantial and High transmission levels. 
  • Mandate masks for students in grades 9-12/Postsecondary when indoors while the county is in the CDC Transmission level of Substantial or High.

These precautions will remain in place until Nov. 2, 2021, at which point we will re-evaluate our process. To see the weekly data dashboard for our community, visit the CDC COVID-19 tracking site at https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#datatracker-home

Working together to support in-person learning  

Community members have strongly shared the importance of students participating in an in-person school environment. With this in mind and after reviewing the most recent COVID transmission level, BPS adjusted our mitigation measures. Families can support our efforts to keep students in school all year through the following actions: 

  • Keep children home if they are sick, especially if they display COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of vaccination status. 
  • Have your child wear a mask to school each day and pack an additional mask to ensure proper protection. Masks will be made available in all of our facilities for those in need. 
  • Practice proper hand hygiene and utilize hand sanitizer when handwashing is unavailable. Sanitizing products and stations will be in each of our facilities and buses. 
  • Explore vaccinations for your family. While vaccinations are a personal choice, there are many opportunities to learn more about the vaccine. BPS will continue to offer vaccination clinics on-site for those seeking the option for themselves or their families. Students must have parent permission to receive the vaccination, and schools will publicize these clinics ahead of time.  

Other mitigation measures

View this COVID Mitigation document to learn more about the mitigation measures and metrics in place this school year. Additionally, principals will be sharing mitigation measures in the upcoming weeks, including lunch protocols and other school-specific practices. 

I will also be discussing this with the Board of Education on Tuesday evening at our regular Board of Education meeting. Meetings can be viewed online at www.youtube.com/birminghamps and may be attended in-person beginning at 7 p.m. at the Education and Administration Center, 31301 Evergreen in Beverly Hills. 

Thank you for your continued support for our students.


Sincerely,

Dr. Embekka Roberson
Superintendent 

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*THE FOLLOWING EMAIL WAS SENT TO THE BPS COMMUNITY ON MONDAY, 7/19/2021


Dear BPS Community,

As our new school year approaches, we’d like to provide the community with an update on our full, five-day return COVID mitigation plans for the 2021-22 school year. These plans also reflect our current environment and state guidelines, which have the potential to change in the coming months. BPS administrators will monitor guidance and revisit plans with regularity. Please see the attached informational sheet providing further clarity around the decision-making process.

In June, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued a rescission of emergency orders, eliminating mask mandates as well as other COVID-19 mitigation measures. BPS implemented these changes beginning June 22 and will continue to hold these practices into the fall. These practices, which are for all BPS-run programs, encompassing pre-K through post-secondary, include:

Masks
Masks are recommended by MDHHS, CDC and other health agencies as an effective protection against COVID-19 for those not vaccinated. Health and state agencies strongly recommend that students in pre-K through 12 years of age wear a mask, as the vaccination is not yet available to that age group. BPS encourages unvaccinated individuals to wear masks. However, masks are not required in our facilities and will not be required this fall. In all circumstances, individuals may still choose to wear a mask in BPS facilities. BPS will have masks available for those in need.

Masks on Buses
Per state and federal orders at this time, masks are still required on public transportation, including school buses. All individuals traveling on a BPS bus must wear a mask for the duration of the ride. Masks will be available on all buses for those that do not have a mask.

Daily Health Screening
The District eliminated daily screeners for students in summer programs and will continue without a daily screener this fall. Students and staff members, or anyone visiting a BPS facility, should stay home if they are feeling unwell or displaying symptoms of COVID-19. Students will be sent home if they are running a fever, as is our typical practice. Students should be fever-free for 24 hours before they return to school.

Physical Distancing
No physical distancing will be in place during the 2021-22 school year.

Vaccinations
The state is not requiring a COVID vaccination at this time. BPS will not require the COVID vaccination to be in our facilities.

COVID Testing
BPS will not require COVID testing to participate in classroom, athletic or extracurricular activities. However, state organizations such as MHSAA may require testing for participation in programs at a state level. Currently, there are no state agencies requiring COVID testing for participation at that level. We will continue to monitor guidance in this area.

Quarantines and Oakland County Health Division Partnership
Seating charts will be used in classrooms where possible to assist with contact tracing requests from the Oakland County Health Division (OCHD). BPS will not be offering these lists, but will continue to work collaboratively with OCHD should they request this information, as we did during and prior to COVID-19. As was typical during and prior to COVID-19, quarantines are issued by the Oakland County Health Division.

Alerting Families to COVID
Should a case of COVID be noted within a BPS classroom, a letter will be sent home alerting families to the case. BPS would provide information to OCHD, should it be requested. BPS will not share the name or identity of the individual with COVID to the public, adhering to FERPA and HIPAA guidelines. 

Temperature checks
Beginning June 14, daily temperature checks were eliminated by BPS and will not be reinstituted in the fall. There will be no required temperature check for students, staff or visitors, but temperatures may be taken should someone present with possible fever symptoms, as was pre-COVID practice.

Lockers
BPS students attending schools with lockers will have access to lockers again this school year. Information on lockers will be shared from building principals as part of back to school messaging.

Visitors
Beginning with our summer programs, visitors were permitted to enter the building to drop off and pick up their students. This practice will continue. Visitors are encouraged to maintain social distance between themselves and others while in the building. Visitors do not need to complete a screener prior to entering a building for drop off and pick-up and masks are not required. 

Cleaning Frequency and Air Quality
BPS will continue to clean high-touch points throughout the day and maintain thorough cleaning procedures in buildings each evening. When a case of COVID-19 is found to be present in our facility, BPS will implement a deeper cleaning procedure that evening, which includes Electrostatic Spraying with approved QT-3 disinfectant within the affected facility. Prior to reopening in the fall of 2020, BPS installed new MERV-13 filters and provided other alternatives to air filtration where MERV-13s weren’t possible. These changes remain in place today.

Plexiglass
Plexiglass removal began this summer and will not be in place once school begins. Plexiglass barriers will still be available upon request.

We recognize and understand that families and individuals have varying views on COVID-19 and the mitigation steps taken in our schools and communities. As we enter into the fall and strive to keep our buildings healthy for our staff and students, we will continue to share information from CDC and MDHHS on recommended practices. In all instances, BPS is committed to supporting warm and welcoming environments within our school communities. No individual should be subject to discrimination around their choice to wear a mask or vaccination preference. We hope we can all work to support one another and remain healthy throughout 2021-22 and beyond.

Sincerely,
BPS Central Leadership Team

Quick reference to Decision-Makers document and state and local contacts