Ann Arbor public schools are pushing back returns due to the surge in local COVID cases

ANN ARBOR – Ann Arbor Public Schools announced Thursday that the return of Grade 4 through 12 students to school buildings would be postponed due to increasing COVID cases in Washtenaw County.

This is the second time the district has postponed its return flight dates for fourth and fifth graders, middle school and high school students due to concerns about its spread in the community.

“Since our update last Tuesday, the rapid and significant surge in COVID cases in Washtenaw County has continued to rise,” wrote Superintendent Dr. Jeanice Kerr Swift in an email to families. “The current COVID levels are the highest we have ever seen during this pandemic.

“More contagious varieties, the escalation of COVID cases among younger people, including Washtenaw County’s 10-17 year olds, and increasing hospitalizations among children and adults are all cause for concern.”

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Swift announced that the new return date for hybrid learning in school for grades 4 through 12 is May 3rd. She said the district’s youngest students will continue hybrid learning at school in locked classrooms while the district continues to monitor cases on a daily basis. This includes preschoolers, young fives, kindergarten teachers, and grades 1 to 3 students who have already returned to school buildings.

It reiterated last week’s announcement that schools in areas with a rapid rise in COVID-19 case rates, as per CDC guidelines, may delay schools reopening or temporarily close schools until community transmission slows down.

She strongly encouraged AAPS students and their families to have regular COVID tests before returning to school. Free test events are offered at AAPS schools. She also encouraged all members of the school community aged 16 and over to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and urged AAPS families to “exercise caution in social gatherings with members outside the home family unit”.

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“We understand that our AAPS families encounter a wide continuum of comforts, needs, and preferences in choosing the best plan for their children this spring school quarter,” wrote Swift. “These circumstances can change due to COVID developments. Our AAPS Spring Return to In-School Learning Plan is designed to give ALL parents the option to choose to have their students stay virtual at all times and for the remainder of the school year. “

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