2021-2022 RETURN TO LEARN PLAN
COVID-19 prevention strategies remain critical to protect students, teachers, and staff who are not fully vaccinated, especially in areas of moderate-to-high community transmission levels. MCC will use more strategies when transmission is higher, especially if vaccination rates are low (or not available for children under the age of 12). Prevention strategies can allow in-person learning to be maintained, even during high levels of transmission in the surrounding community. We will closely monitor where additional mitigation strategies are needed based on a granular approach to minimize a full disruption to our educational system. Granular approach means to start small (individual) and expand mitigation strategies (such as masks for all) if the data warrants such.
The key strategies that will be in effect for the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year to keep our students and staff safer are listed below:
- Promoting Vaccination against COVID-19 for eligible staff and students. Vaccination has proven incredibly effective as the leading public health prevention strategy. MCC will promote and continue to provide opportunities for eligible students and staff to get vaccinated to help maintain in-person learning and extra-curricular activities and sports. As a positive impact, quarantines will be minimized for vaccinated students and staff.
- Consistent and Correct Mask Use
- Per current CDC Order – masking is required for all on school buses.
- Due to the inability to receive vaccinations for our under 12 student population, universal indoor masking in grades Pre-K through 6th grade will be required for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status.
- This mitigation strategy will remain in effect until six weeks past the date the COVID-19 vaccine is authorized and available to persons age five years through age eleven.
- Masks are highly recommended for students and staff in grades 7 through 12 that have not been vaccinated; and encouraged for vaccinated staff and students.
- Physical Distancing - The MCC school district will make every effort to maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms. Classroom cohorts at the elementary levels (like last year) could be implemented if necessary.
- Ensure Proper Ventilation
- Encourage Proper Handwashing and Respiratory Etiquette
- Staying Home When Sick and Getting Tested
- Strongly encourage students and staff to stay home if sick or having COVID-19 Symptoms
- Encouraging students and staff, regardless of vaccination status, to get tested for COVID-19 if having symptoms or if they are a close contact of someone who has COVID-19.
- Contact Tracing, in Combination with Quarantine
- Assist local health department with contact tracing and report suspected and confirmed COVID-19 (and all other reportable diseases, outbreaks, unusual occurrences) to the health department as specified in the Michigan Administrative Code.
- Post COVID-19 case counts on the district website as per MDHHS Epidemic Order.
- Cleaning and Disinfection of buildings and classrooms will continue according to updated CDC guidance.
How MCC Will Assess Risk
Together with local public health officials, school administrators have, and will continue to consider multiple factors when making decisions about implementing layered prevention strategies against COVID-19. The MCC school district serves children across all of Mason County. In addition, many from well beyond county lines choose to come to school here. COVID-19 knows no boundaries. Therefore, our decisions will be based on the school population, families and students served, as well as the greater school community. Robust layering strategies will use the following primary factors when considering course of action:
- Level of Community Transmission of COVID-19
- COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage in the community and among students, teachers and staff.
- COVID-19 outbreaks or increasing trends in the school or surrounding community.
- Ages of children served in the school and risk associated with school, extracurricular, and social activities.
As stated before, we feel confident that the 2021-2022 school year will be much better than last year… but there are still going to be challenges that we must work together to overcome. We will need to remain flexible and fluid as we have in the past year+ .
We may not always agree with when, where and how mitigation strategies are required and/or implemented to protect our students and staff… but know this… We are all Spartans… We are all Americans… and the Mason County Central School District will do everything it can to provide a safe, healthy and robust learning experience for our students... your children.