MacGregor's Message 8/20/2021 
Dear Families,

Our school year is off to a great start. I had so much fun visiting our buildings this week and seeing our students, staff, and families as we begin the new school year.

As I have shared before, currently, using a face mask is optional and a family choice for our students. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), the Livingston County Health Department (LCHD), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) all recommend the use of a face mask to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in schools. Please remember that due to a CDC mandate requiring face masks on public transportation, students and staff are required to wear a face mask while utilizing district-provided transportation.

During my weekly call with the Livingston County Health Department (LCHD) today, it was shared that LCHD has received all of the needed approvals to launch an alternative quarantine program. The team at LCHD is now working on getting all of the processes in place, and they hope to launch this program very soon. While more details will be forthcoming, at the very basic level, this alternative quarantine program will allow students identified as close contacts of a confirmed COVID-19 case to continue to attend school if they follow a masking and testing protocol. As soon as I have the final details from the LCHD, I will share them with you.

Until the LCHD is ready to launch this program, we will follow similar quarantine guidelines as last year. Since face masks are not mandated within the school setting, a close contact will be considered a student who is within six feet of an individual who has a confirmed case of COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more. To help families understand the various scenarios, the LCHD has created a parent information packet, which can be found at https://bit.ly/3mi6xrK. Students who are fully vaccinated or who have had COVID-19 within the last 90 days will not be required to quarantine. To learn more about vaccine clinics from the LCHD, please visit https://bit.ly/3xsqC0n.

Currently, the 14-day average for new cases of COVID-19 in Livingston County is 29. The vast majority of these cases are individuals over the age of 19 with cases among school-aged children remaining low. For example, the current total number of cases in the county on August 18 was 38 - 34 cases for ages 19+ and 4 cases for ages 0-18. While the number of COVID-19 cases among school-age children in our area remains low, we must remain vigilant in taking precautionary steps to limit the spread. The most important thing we can do to limit the spread of COVID-19 in our schools is to have students stay home when they are showing any signs of illness or when COVID-19 test results are pending. We absolutely must adhere to this precaution. We must also follow proper quarantine guidelines when identified as a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case.

Please join me in welcoming our new School Resource Officer, Derek Sawyer. Officer Sawyer will work out of the high school but support all of our schools located within the City of Howell. Officer Sawyer will work closely with Deputy Schuster from the Livingston County Sheriff Department, who supports our schools outside the city limits. We are so excited to have Officer Sawyer on our team, and I know he looks forward to visiting the schools and getting to know our students.

As we have shared before, the USDA has extended several waivers to allow all students to eat school meals for free this school year. While school meals will be free, it is still important that qualifying families complete a free or reduced-price meal application. The district receives federal funding based on the number of families who qualify for free or reduced-price meals. There are also several benefits that qualifying families may receive. To learn about how completing a free and reduced meal application provides more than just a meal, please visit https://bit.ly/2Xxqhx0. To complete an application, please visit https://bit.ly/2z6nDlP.

Sincerely,
Erin J. MacGregor, Ed.S.
Superintendent
Howell Public Schools
Posted by gouldt On Mon, Aug 23, 2021 at 7:43 AM  

 
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