Dr. Shultz July 16th Update

Plans for Starting 2021-22 School Year
Posted on 07/16/2021
Superintendent UpdateJuly 16, 2021
Dear BPS Community,

I hope that the first month of the summer break has brought you and your family some well-deserved relaxation and enjoyment. As district leadership continues our planning for the 2021-2022 school year, I wanted to send this update to our educational community to help our families and staff members better plan for the fall. Our collective experiences throughout the previous 17 months have taught us a great deal as a district and community. These lessons, along with the ongoing collection of health and safety data provided by experts have guided the direction that Bedford Public Schools will follow for the start of the school year. One point that I feel is necessary to remind our community is that BPS is a proud public school district, and as such the district is fully obligated to follow any county, state, and national public mandates.

As of the date of this letter, MDHHS has only produced recommendations for the 2021-22 school year and the State of Michigan has lifted all COVID-related mandates and restrictions. BPS has considered all the proposed recommendations made by the state and have made facial masks optional for all staff and students in BPS summer school and other summer programs. As long as no further mandates are created, facial masks will continue to be optional for students and staff in the fall of 2021 (students riding district buses may be required to wear masks on the bus depending on federal transportation guidelines). We are still over eight weeks away from the start of the 2021-2022 school year and as has been the case throughout the pandemic, this decision is subject to change at any time should there be an extreme change in local COVID data and/or public health mandates.

MDHHS also recommends that schools consider weekly antigen testing as a potential mitigation measure. The only antigen testing conducted by BPS during last school year (2020-21) was for student-athletes wanting to compete in their sport, consistent with the MHSAA and MDHHS requirements, which have since been rescinded. Additionally, MDHHS does not require COVID vaccinations for students in their recommendations. Accordingly, BPS will not be initiating any district-mandated antigen testing or vaccination programs for students or staff in the fall for the 2021-22 school year. Furthermore, the district will not engage in any type of segregation between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals as a method for mitigation. BPS will continue to strongly encourage anyone who is unvaccinated to consider the option for vaccination or to wear a mask indoors to help protect themselves, colleagues, and family members. The district will continue to employ several of the mitigation strategies that we previously used to help keep our students and staff safe such as increased social distancing when and where available, increased handwashing schedules, and regular classroom disinfections. Finally, contact tracing and quarantining will still be an important tool that BPS will utilize to ensure a safe learning environment. These activities will be employed as necessary and will not be implemented as a blanket protocol as they were during the previous school year’s mandated periods.

I recognize that it is uncomfortable to not know what the future holds, BPS leadership will communicate any changes to our plans if the need arises. The information outlined in this update along with the district’s return to a full-day bell schedule for all students and staff is a great way to start off the upcoming school year. We look forward to welcoming everyone back on September 7, 2021 and please enjoy the rest of your summer.

Carl Shultz, Ph.D
Superintendent, Bedford Public Schools
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