MacGregor's Message 9/2/2021 
Dear Families,

Last Thursday, we kicked off the 2021 varsity football season at Memorial Stadium. It was a great night, with our Highlander Marching Band, food trucks, a pre-game concert, a live broadcast of the game by WHMI, and of course, an outstanding Highlander victory. It was wonderful to welcome fans back to the game after a year of limited capacity at our athletic events. The atmosphere and energy in the stadium had many of us feeling “normal” again. Our Highlanders will host Canton tonight at 7 p.m. at Howell High School’s Memorial Stadium.

While last Thursday felt normal, the fact remains that we are still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. This week, we experienced several cases of COVID-19 within one of the sixth-grade teams at Parker Middle School. We have worked very closely with the Livingston County Health Department (LCHD) on this matter and identified students and staff that met the definition of a close contact. Those individuals have been quarantined. Many of the cases at Parker are linked and meet the definition of a school outbreak. Under these circumstances, the LCHD has strongly recommended that students within that team, who were not considered a close contact to a positive case, wear a face covering and get tested for COVID-19 through the duration of the quarantines that resulted from the outbreak. I anticipate that there may be other situations throughout this year where LCHD or the district may need to implement a similar strategy at other buildings.

Currently, MDHHS and LCHD both strongly recommend that facial coverings be worn in all indoor public settings. While this is not a mandate, I strongly encourage families to follow the recommendation. Additionally, students absolutely must stay home when showing any signs of illness. This will help reduce the possibility of COVID-19 spreading within our schools. Additionally, both MDHHS and LCHD also recommend that all eligible individuals receive the COVID-19 vaccination. A fully vaccinated student not only has protection against COVID-19 but is also exempt from having to quarantine if they are identified as a close contact of a COVID-19 case.

Yesterday, educational leaders within the county met with LCHD to learn more about the alternative quarantine program. This is an optional program that we will be pursuing as a way to maintain in-person school. LCHD expects to launch the program on Tuesday, September 7. The program will not be retroactive, meaning that only those students identified as close contacts of a positive case after September 7, will be eligible to participate. When launched, students who are eligible for the alternative quarantine will be notified by LCHD. If a family chooses to participate, their child will be able to attend school during their quarantine period if they wear a facial covering and conduct daily at home COVID-19 testing. At this time, the program only includes the school setting and not extracurricular activities. To help families understand the program, the LCHD has created a video, which you can view at https://bit.ly/2WHJmwa. LCHD has also created a website that explains the alternative quarantine program, which can be found at https://bit.ly/3kSEpJp.

Lastly, I would like to address a video that is circulating on social media. The video shows an assault on a high school student that took place shortly after the school day concluded. The video is disturbing and it is troubling to know that this occurred on our campus. I know that the actions of a few do not represent our student body as a whole, as evidenced by the fact that it was students who brought this matter to the high school’s attention. Upon learning of the incident, the high school administration worked quickly to identify those involved. As a school and a district, we do not tolerate this type of behavior. The school has started the discipline process per the district’s student handbook, and law enforcement is involved.

I hope you all have a relaxing holiday weekend.

Sincerely,
Erin J. MacGregor, Ed.S.
Superintendent
Howell Public Schools
Posted by gouldt On Tue, Sep 07, 2021 at 7:20 AM  

 
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