Thank you for attending the Back to School Bash! Our volunteers and sponsor partners had a blast distributing 6,000 backpacks stuffed with school supplies, 5-day meal kits, and many other important resources.
It’s energizing to see our students and families getting ready for Day One. I am excited for you to start back to school this Thursday, August 5th!
I hope you’ll follow along with me Thursday, Friday and Monday as I travel across the district visiting all of our clusters to kick off the 2021-22 academic year. (Follow here and @drlisaherring on Instagram and Twitter as I share highlights.)
Our teachers, administrators, support staff, and board members are working hard to make sure this will be an excellent school year for you. I have so many updates and new, positive initiatives to share with you in the coming weeks. But today I want to spotlight our quarantine protocols which were shared during yesterday’s board meeting.
The first thing you need to know is there’s a difference between quarantine and isolation:
- Quarantine keeps someone who might have been exposed to the virus away from others.
- Isolation keeps someone who is infected with the virus away from others, even in their home.
Knowing that difference, the other piece of information we all need to understand to make this a successful school year is who needs to quarantine after exposure to a positive case. People who are not vaccinated and have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 need to quarantine.
Our Health Information webpage on the APS website will help answer many of your additional questions, such as:
- What counts as close contact?
- Who doesn’t need to quarantine after exposure?
- Who will quarantine? Just those in close contact, whole classes, whole grades, whole schools?
- After the school year starts, what will outbreak related closures look like?
- If a student or teacher tests positive for COVID-19 but is asymptomatic, can he/she still report to school?
- What is the time frame for reporting exposures to parents?
- Why does APS require masks to be worn indoors?
Our Health Information webpage gives you detailed information about how APS will handle contact tracing and tracking, how you should report exposure, testing “whens and wheres” and the benefits of vaccines for eligible students and staff.
Health and safety for all is at the forefront of our planning, but you will also want to know what your student’s instructional plan may look like in the case of COVID infection or exposure in their classroom or school. We have plans in place for all the potential scenarios, and our FAQ section of the Health Information webpage breaks that down for you.
Special thanks to our department of Student Services and Health Services for the thorough update they provided for our APS Board.
I also want to thank our board members for their thoughtful questions about health safety details and planning. They want to make sure everyone in our community is aware of current information and knows where to find emerging information as the school year progresses.
Please keep up with our #MaskUp protocols and our health screening tool, and let’s all do our best to be healthy, especially to protect those students under 12 who are not yet eligible for vaccination.
I wish every student and every family a great start to the 2021-22 school year!