Ann Arbor Public Schools will start remotely in 2022 due to the surge in COVID

ANN ARBOR – Ann Arbor Public Schools students are starting the month of January with virtual distance learning due to the recent spike in COVID fueled by the Omicron variant, the district said on Friday.

In an email to the AAPS community, Superintendent Jeanice Swift noted an “extraordinary increase in COVID cases in our Ann Arbor community, higher than ever during this pandemic”.

Swift announced that classes will be virtual Wednesday through Friday and that students and staff are expected to return to school on Monday, January 10th. A virtual town hall will be held on Wednesday at 6 p.m., which will serve as a forum for community questions. The district will also provide information about the situation during the event.

“This change to the schedule for a winter break will give time for critical steps, including closely monitoring AAPS case data and managing the impact on staffing levels, in order to mitigate concerns from the current COVID-19 Omicron surge “Wrote Swift, who said sicknesses among staff that lead to absenteeism continue to affect the district.

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In her email, she said that over the coming weeks representatives will be deployed in the classrooms to fill the staffing gap and that Monday and Tuesday will serve as days for school staff to prepare for three days of virtual learning next week complete.

As cases continue to spread across the community, Swift has requested vaccinations and booster programs for anyone who is eligible. AAPS has applied to offer ongoing vaccination clinics for students aged 5 to 18 and employees in collaboration with MDHHS.

Swift also urged students, staff and families to “organize a backup plan to support a transition to temporary virtual remote learning” during times when local COVID cases are increasing.

“We will continue to take reasonable steps to support the health and safety of our students and staff, including temporarily switching to virtual distance learning if necessary,” she wrote.

More information will be released shortly to help families with connectivity issues at home. Food distribution places for students will also be shared in the coming days, Swift said.

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