On March 10, the Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education held a regular meeting. You can watch the meeting live on Zoom or on Xfinity Channel 18. The district typically posts the recording split into segments the day after the meeting.
This meeting was less eventful than the last meeting when a return to in person school was approved. While no decisions were made tonight, Dr Swift provided a lengthy update on the Return to Learn Plan including a first look at the plan for secondary schools, what hybrid learning will look like, building modifications, transportation and more.
First, the district is working with EMU on graduation plans to allow for socially distant graduation. Tickets will be limited based on whether it is indoor or outdoor and conditions at the time of graduation.
Secondary students will begin to return to the buildings on April 12. They will return in cohorts twice a week. However, they will only return for half days which will necessitate a new schedule. Each block will be split with a morning session that will include some in person students and a full remote afternoon section. Advisory, and the optional seventh period for high schoolers will remain fully virtual. High school will also start 10 minute earlier at 8:20a. Secondary schools will hold information sessions next week and an enrollment registration form will go out this week.
67% of elementary students are planning to return to in person learning. Some schools have high enrollment of 70+% while other schools are in the mid59s. This is why we are returning in hybrid. That is the only way to maintain social distance. The district shared enrollment trends by student group and by elementary school.
Sample room layouts and a video showing hybrid learning were shown. The district also wrapped up with a video showing photos from each of the district’s building. The big news here is each grade level will have 3 asynchronous days to allow staff to prepare for the retur to the building.
Before the return to in person learning, faculty and staff need some time to prepare classrooms and buildings and receive additional training. To allow time for this, the district has added 3 special asynchronous learning days for each grade level. One of the days is a Wednesday that was already asynchronous.
- Stage 1 (Preschool, Young 4s, Kindergarten, Self-contained classrooms): March 22, 23, 24
- Stage 2 (1st & 2nd): March 24, 25, 26
- Stage 3 & 4 (3rd-12th): April 7, 8, 9
The asynchronous days were described as being meatier than a standard Wednesday. Hopefully that is at the elementary levels. My high schooler seems busier on Wednesdays than a synchronous day. Each teacher will have flexibility in how the design lessons those days – pre-recording lectures, assignments, etc.
Food, Transportation, & Buildings
Registration is required to establish bus routes this year. Food distribution will continue once a week. Meals will also be distributed at school. Most classrooms have between 5-11 air changes per hour. Air filters will be added in areas with less.
Rec & Ed
The big news is summer camps will happen with information released during spring break. Youth spring sports registration is active. The Wednesday enrichment activities will be starting soon.
The district shared proposals for networking hardware and management and roof replacement projects.
Present: Lazarus, Kelly, Johnson, Dupree, Gaynor, Kelly, Querijero, Baskett
Non-Voting Attendees: Swift, Osinski, Cluley, Minnick, Kellstrom, Lauzzana, Bacolor, Parks, Linden, Fidishin, Parks, DeAngelis, Rice
All of the Board Members who I heard on attendance confirmed that they were attending from Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti (the public stream started in mid roll call)
Motion to approve the agenda by Gaynor seconded by Lazarus. Approved unanimously without discussion.
As is our practice, we will not cover public commentary. There were only 18 comments tonight.. With such limited time per comment it is even harder to try to capture the context of the commentary. Comments are available on BoardDocs. Mr Cluley and Ms Osinski took turns reading.
Swift. A clarification on the metrics dashboard. Updates from CDC was reported to the board at previous meetings and Ms Bacolor reviewed on February 24. We will be updating again this evening. We will review where we are and add tonight’s update in that section.
I do want to reference the availability of testing. When we discussed it, we were specifically referring to in school rapid testing. We are part of the pilot for winter athletes. I was in a meeting with a member of the governor’s team when we were first offered the availability of rapid antigen testing in our schools for students and staff. That preceded my recommendation to the trustees by 3-4 days. Of course regular testing has been available throughout the school year, but not all families have access to quality healthcare.
I do want to touch on the timeline for reopening. The board and trustees have stated a priority to have staff and faculty vaccinated prior to reopening. Those vaccinations are rolling out now. We have timed opening of phases alongside completion of vaccine process. That is a part of the timing.
We do appreciate everyone who joins on on Wednesday evenings to speak and also the hundreds of emails we receive.
Johnson: One question about the building updates. I know we’ve given updates on those in the past. I know there was a question on any delay to make the buildings ready.
Swift: As we have shared with the board and community, we have made many modifications. We are on track. You will hear more detail about specifics this evening. Social distancing, air quality, water quality, CDC cleaning protocol.
Board Committee Reports
Gaynor: We’ve added two first briefing agenda items. First is networking and second is roof replacement. That is coming up soon.
Superintendent’s Spring Update
This is a heavy update as we approach the opening of our school buildings.Student and Staff safety as our first priority and quality education as the second.
- Analysis Elementary Participation – Spring In-school Hybrid Option
- Teaching & Learning Update
- Elementary Hybrid Instruction
- Information for Special Education Parents
- Health Update & AAPS Rapid Antigen Testing Program
- Overview: Secondary In-School Hybrid Plan
- Update: Food, Transportation & Building Readiness
- Preview: Spring Rec & Ed Programs
- Next Steps in AAPS
Preschool, Elementary, 6-12 Self- Contained. 67.3% responded they are returning to hybrid. 24.5% are remaining virtual. 8.2% (~650 parents) did not respond. This is about 5400 students. The number of students returning in stage 1 is larger than any other surrounding district in Washtenaw County. Some of the non-responses are students with special needs who need conversations before deciding.
Student Group breakdown of students returning.
Breakdown by school
Baskett if you could go back to percentage overall. Those are of those who have responded?
Swift: Those who have not responded are included in the grey bar. This is just preschool, elementary, and 6-12 self-contained. 5440 in the Yes, 1900 in remaining virtual, and 650 in not yet responded. Those numbers change quickly.
Baskett: By student group, of the total
Swift: Abbot has a large population returning, very small non-responses.
Gaynor: Can you go to the intermediate slide so I can screen capture it.
Swift: We can send it to you & they are on Board Docs.
Lazarus: I want to make sure I understand. We have 5440 students that will walk through our doors. That’s a lot of students. My question is they are in hybrid, they’ll be broken into ~35% of our total population in this single group at a time that we will have to manage in our buildings. In some of those schools, their percentages are very high – Eberwhite, Bach, Burns Park, Wines – are very high. How are we looking at accommodating social distance mitigations and making sure we have the distance between students and staff.
Swift: They are using a number of strategies. Principals are working to balance the cohort to have close to an even number of students. When you see photos of classrooms, they will be sitting in every 2nd or 3rd seat as teachers lay out classroom. We will be using every larger space in the school – multi-purpose rooms and other locations where they can spread students out and have social distance. Thankfully these students are younger and smaller but they take up less space than high schoolers. We can achieve the 5′. It is a puzzle and we have stickers on the floor. Entry and dismissal will be done carefully with the driveline app so students are departing the building not in groups. This will be a choreographed event.
Lazarus: It sounds like it is a puzzle. Each building will have their unique protocols that parents and students and staff need to be aware of. Sounds like there is a lot of learning to get things going. Does it require additional staff to help monitor and keep kids to maintain the 6′ apart.
Swift: Thank you for asking. Yes, it does require additional staff. Trustees know we have had job postings up for some time. We have permanent subs assigned to each building for this spring. Substitutes will not travel building to building. Principals are working to make sure gather additional folks needed for supervision. It will be all hands on deck. But at the same time we want to keep numbers down to ensure distance.
Lazarus: 5440 students is a fraction, but a big fraction that total number of students is about the size of Saline Public Schools total from K-12. We have the same amount of students in a hybrid situation. Coordination is what other districts dealing with the total number.
Lazarus: I want to make sure the community understands the size and scope.
DuPree: I notice in the charts you could look at numbers by district, race/ethnicity, school. Can we have information on students remaining virtual we will be providing food services, hot spots, etc for.
Swift: We have provided full meal service since last March and have not missed a day on that. That will continue. Those will continue through to June 30. It may turn out that since some students are getting their lunch at school that we may have fewer on the drive-through. But we will be fully prepared for both and will continue deliveries into the community. Food support, tech support, hot spot, Comcast essentials – none of that will diminish. It will continue through the end of the fiscal year (June 30)
Swift: We’ve been serving about 2000 students/day. It has fluctuated from 1700-slightly above 2000. Saturday will be a year. I want to give Ms Margolis & her team a shout out. On a normal school day we will serve about 4500 students. We will be serving far more students.
Margolis: There really won’t be a change. Students will get breakfast & lunch on their days. There was discussion if we have to track for the 2 day hybrid in pickup. Really all that is changing is we are distributing only on Wednesday. Sometimes we do see a change when the P-EBT cards are distributed and families are using those funds.
Swift: We’ll do our best to bring photos of that. The 7 day distribution is a lot of food. It’s nice for the families to make one trip is easier than twice a week. We’ll continue to update with how many we are feeding over the next 9 weeks.
Overview Hybrid Instruction & Special Education Information
Linden: Some of these are reminders.
Cohort 1: In-Person Monday & Tuesday, Still Asynchronous Wednesdays, Remote Thursday & Friday
Cohort 2: Remote Monday & Tuesday, Still Asynchronous Wednesdays, In-Person Monday & Tuesday
Principals are busy preparing communication to families about which cohort they are in.
Self-contained classes are not cohorted because they are small groups already. They come in person Monday-Tuesday & Thursday-Friday.
We are prepared for 50%, but will see about 38%. You’ll see the carpet and the xs represent where they can sit. The Kidney table will still be there and will be used with less children.
We’ll be setting up roomies (in-person) & zoomies (remote students)
Three Modes of instruction Whole Group, Small Group, Individual Instruction
Even though we are remote and in person, resources, tools & assignments will still be used in Schoology. That is likely to be an accessible LMS for years to come.
Staff preparation days will require setup, professional development, safety training. There will be 3 days of asynchronous learning for all students – one is a Wednesday that is already asynchronous.
- Stage 1: March 22, 23, 24
- Stage 2: March 24, 25, 26
- Stage 3 & 4: April 7, 8, 9
Ms Linden showed a video demonstrating what Hybrid will look like. If I see the video posted by the district I will add a link. Teachers saw a longer version today at staff meeting. It will continue to be shown to help setup the best way forward.
We have had our attention on the particular challenges faced with special needs.
Those with an IEP or a 504 and others with learning differences and challenges. We have said when it came time to return we would commit ourselves to do more on return understanding there were gaps during the previous school year. We are excited to move forward with that value.
You could see from analysis of student enrollment that a significant number of students with special needs are choosing to return to hybrid in school learning. We know our parents will have lots of questions. We are committed to this process and committed to evaluations of students to ensuring that services continue through the transition and ensuring we are int eh process of restoring and recovering and bringing students to greater levels of support whether they choose to remain fully virtual or in person.
We developed a basic plan. I’m asking Dr Fidishin and Ms Linden to got through the fundamental components. There will be family information sessions next weeks so families can get the information. We have told them if they need longer to process the information with case manager/teacher, don’t worry about the enrollment deadline. We know there is more to think about.
Linden: We began this school year declaring we wanted all families with students with IEPs that they are general education students first and provide the services as needed. These next services are added layers of supports.
Fidishin: The first aspect we’ll be looking at is safety component of special education. We will use the Super Six mitigation standards. Social distancing is included. With students with IEPs that may not be possible, but we will do 6’ as much as possible. Staff will have full access to PPE – face shields, gowns, & gloves to maintain safety and mitigate lack of social distancing. We know masking is important. Students will e supported with care & patience as they learn how to wear and maintain a mask and build stamina.
We know evaluations are a priority. While in hybrid, school teams will review IEPs and GFECLPs to maximize implementation. School psychologist have begun scheduling in person evaluations. Prioritize those the most delayed.
In person services will involve a transition period. For short time, students will continue to receive services virtually while service providers determine new schedules based on family choices to participate in person or remain virtually. Paraprofessionals will be aligned with students and classrooms for both in person and virtual students.
Swift: We’ve had this commitment for the previous year and like so many things due to COVID our strategies have been limited. I believe it’s been especially challenging for parents of students with individualized learning needs.
Gaynor: For Dr Fidishin, I heard from a parent with a student in self-contained program that she feels she needs to stay virtual for health reasons, but was looking forward to getting some services in person. Can you clarify it would be possible to get some in person, or if not why not?
Fidishin: As a district we have considered it. What we’ve found is we will work with individuals tot he best of our ability or possibility. We do want to maintain safety and ensuring we maintain the super six mitigating standards. We will take each incident on an individual basis.
Swift: Thank you Dr Fidishin, I’m glad you said that. I know the team will work through individual requests. I appreciate and respect that parent’s situation.
Gaynor: Of course we have guidelines, but the individual IEPs I hope we can emet the needs as best we can.
Ms Linden, I like the video it all seems nice and easy. My first question is about the cameras. There was surely a camera that followed the teacher. Will that be possible in every classroom. How will this be done? My understanding was teachers would need to stay close to their laptop camera.
Linden: We don’t want community to think a video to demonstrate . That was not filmed from a zoomie view or a roomie student desk. What you saw on the screen would be what the student sees.
Gaynor: Teachers can circulate even though they may not be visible on camera.
Linden: Stay seated behind laptop. The other is what you saw Tierra Jackson doing. They can use their ladybug document camera to show the classroom. Then, they switch back to showing a document. The teachers will see a longer version that demonstrates the logistics.
Gaynor: Question about privacy question. I know people see zoom information. Are there issues with who sees what with some on camera from classroom.
Linden: As long as we are not recording and keep on secure zoom links it isn’t an issue.
Gaynor: About Stage 1, we hear they need a lot of support at home – certainly with tech. What do you anticipate asynchronous lessons will be like for the youngest kids for the three days. How do you see the first two days going when the youngest kids come into classroom for the first time and need to orient them, but still have the roomies to respond to. I know the teachers of youngest students have concern.
Linden: Transitions are always hard. We had one when we started the year. We’ve gotten good at being inclusive. The lessons will be meatier than the Wednesday asynchronous. They won’t have interaction with teachers those days. Teachers really need that time to have a safe environment. I envision some teachers will do things differently than others on the asynchronous days. Some plan to record lessons ahead of time. Others plan sequential events to move through. Families should anticipate similar to but meatier than Wednesday. If they have questions they should contact their teachers.
To your second question, students are entering building for the very first time – not just you. If they do a school tour, they might take zooms with them on a mobile device, or may just take roomies in.
Gaynor: I hope everyones understands it will be tough.
Swift: I appreciate the question. I have a kindergartener niece who had her first in person day yesterday That is part of the rationale behind the 25th and 26th. Principals and teams see those as orientation days. The routines of school are always a challenge, but now we have super six and extra to be done in the routines of school.
Kelly: I know we’re only part of the way through. I’m really impressed so far. The details that are coming through are helpful. These dig a little deeper into the details.
Those first days back. We often have extra adults in class with the youngest students in a traditional fall. Can we engage building subs and others to have extra help.
Swift: We are doing everything we can to have extra support and hands in Stage 1 and also 2 & 3. And also our 6th graders and 9th graders.
Kelly: My next questions are all around special education. The challenge of these is a IEP is individualized and there may not be a presentation that serves a one-size fits all information session. Can I just ask a couple additional details. We talked about it’s always our goal to fully implement the IEP first then move the good faith. When a child is back in person what would be the barriers to fully implement an IEP?
Linden: The nature of hybrid means half the time the student is in person and half the time is remote. For services that extend over 2 days a week, those will stay remote. Also the asynchronous day, that’s another reason some good faith plans would need to remain.
Fidishin: I couldn’t have said it better myself
Swift: For the most part, there will be a dramatic shift in terms of being able to complete much more.
Kelly: That’s a great point, Wednesdays are still Wednesdays. My second question tags onto what trustee Gaynor mentioned. In the transition time, services will continue to virtual and move to in person as individual situation allowed. Can you give an example of what would need to be in place to make the transition to in person.
Linden: This is about scheduling and knowing who is coming back. As a speech therapist, I might have 40 students and in a way that serves needs well, but when half of a group are in cohort 1 or cohort 2, there may be shifting and scheduling for that to happen.
Swift: Thank you Trustee Kelly we are using virtual to ensure disruption to service is minimal to non-existent in the transition. We do have groups formed that have been giong. When we get to school, we’ll see about the rearranging of the schedule.
Kelly: We’re offsetting the transition. Bodies transition one week, services another week.
My last question is we’re going to be using summer days to add on to evaluations and things that are counted as school days. Do we have to do anything special to count summer, or sit hat part of good faith.
Swift: I’ve heard from the team a strong commitment to complete evaluations as expeditiously as possible. We are seeing that a portion of families won’t return to in person. There may be some extenuating circumstances that would move that timeline. last summer 450 students participated in recovery services. We have a Study Session March 24 to debut the summer learning plan. We see summer as additional layers of support – restoration & recovery, not primary as we all move beyond COVID.
Fidishin: As Dr Swift mentioned we are committed to completing in person evaluations before the end of the school year. But if individual students remain virtual, we may not.
Kelly: That explanation sparked another question. If a family has decided virtual is the best for them but are concerned about missing an evaluation or their pullout time is something they are comfortable sending their child in for. Is there room to make an individual plan for a family? Or are you only eligible for in person evaluation or in person services if you choose to be in person for cohort time.
Fidishin: Not only do we have our school psychologist, we’ve also acquired a school psychologist is an expert in doing them in a virtual setting. They are identifying those who can be best served in a virtual environment. Not all students can best be serviced virtually.
Lazarus: I’ll try to be quick. Just to be clear the reason we can’t just go back 4 days a week, is we have accommodated a capacity of 50% coming back. So the response that we got, the average is almost 70%. This is a good example of why we can’t do 4 days. This is the best solution to equitably serve all students interested in coming back.
Lazarus: I appreciate the video, but I did notice there are face masks that are clear. Expression is so important especially with young children. Have we looked at a solution where teachers could implement face shields instead of masks?
Swift: We are prepared not only for the students you mentioned but also deaf and hard of hearing students. Several can answer this.
Fidishin: We’re probably all going to say the same ting. We realized that transparent face masks will be critical for students in many situations. Either special areas like speech language services, social work, students with certain disabilities who have trouble reading non-verbal communications and those who are deaf and hard of hearing. We have used that and purchased a significant amount of PPE with transparent masks.
Johnson: So we have transparent masks plus transparent face shield.
Lazaurs: So they would be double masked?
Margolis: We have PPE with clear plastic around the mouth. Staff and students may need those as well. We also have face shields. The translucent masks we are working with SISS and nurses.
We have about 600 supply. They are cloth. We’ll start with hearing impaired. If we have additional requests we’ll work on the supply.
Lazarus: On the video I noticed that Ms Jackson was fully moving around the room and getting very close to sitting students. Are we not practicing social distance between student and teacher or is it just between student to student.
Linden: Anywhere between 3-6’ is CDC guidance right now. Short transitions when they pass in transit aren’t as big of a concern. It looks like she’s closer, but if there was an aerial view you’d see the 3-6’. You did see as the students headed to the rug there was brief moments of closer contacts. The goal is it isn’t enduring. Close contact isn’t considered close contact if it’s quick passing.
Lazarus: Relating to privacy questions asked earlier. I noticed we will not be recording videos. My understanding is can the kids record the video on their end.
Linden: The host would have to allow people to do that. It doesn’t preclude a second device to record. But no they cannot record the Zoom.
Lazarus: Have we addressed the liability if a student is doing that?
Swift: I love that question. They really mirror what happens in face to face classrooms as we address surreptitious recording when everyone is face to face.
Querijero: A quick comment follow up on Trustee Lazarus with masks. Will it be an issue to turn on live transcript. Can we use that in all classes since that is in compliance with UDL.
Linden: We’ve tried out every part of hybrid learning. We tried to make suer that closed captioning is available at all times. We tested if it’s visible to students in class and on zoom at the same time and it is.
Querijero: Does the teacher have to turn on or is it the default?
Linden: Teacher has to turn it on, but we can talk to Dr Kellstrom
DuPree: Tahnkyou for the video because I’m a visual person. I want to ask few questions round that.
I see students have individual headphones. Is that the same protocol with noise canceling headphones, weighted blankets, etc.
Linden: It’s important to us that students don’t share equipment. They’ll each have their own headset stored in plastic bags. Because they’re used by one student only we don’t have plans to clean between cohorts.
Fidishin: Typically those items ae assigned to an individual students and they aren’t shared. We’d do the same with storing in plastic, or in some cases like noise canceling headphones they’er with them 24 hours a day.
DuPree: Can you give me an example of what pushing services will look like. Will social workers go into classes, or students pulled out.
Fidishin: It depends on student & needs. Sometimes they will push in, other times they will pull out. For pull out, it would be from a single cohort.
Johnson: I have a couple quick. When we watched the video, students followed along on the whiteboard. Will they have device in classroom & if so how will they use it?
Linden: WE’re trying to preserve in person for as much interaction as possible. But you’ll recall schoology is where they access their assignments or turn something in. Or do some Lexia or dream box. They won’t be zooming while in person.
Johnson: We provide special education services outside of AAPS. How are we serving those schools? How does it differ from what we’re doing in our schools? Are there different safety protoco9ls.
Fidishin: For the non-public schools, early-on & community based services are being done virtually. When we get to all students in a face to face that too will be in-person environment. We’ve located it in Stage 4.
As of Sunday, March 7, Washtenaw County is at 72 cases/100k per week. That places us in Orange, down from red. Positivity percent remains low around 1%.
CDC calls for elementary schools in hybrid learning and also for middle and high school in hybrid learning mode.
COVID-19 testing for students. All of the testing we are talking about is diagnostic. We are narrowing in on two circumstances –
- Symptomatic testing – when a student starts to feel ill at school. Requires a PCR test at community testing site/doc’s office. That is the first choice before return to school.
- Rapid Antigen testing – this is for screening. Asymptomatic or presymptomatic. MDHHS is now allowing schools to do it with high school students. It’s an extra layer of protection above Super 6. We know most teens have adult physiology and can transmit cases more easily. It is voluntary and requires parent consent. In highest risk population, gives early case detection.
Travel and spring break. The safest thing to do is stay home for spring break. All experts say please don’t travel for spring break. Many other areas of Michigan, US, & other countries have high cases and variants. It gives the opportunity to bring it back. We’re asking to wear masks, physical distance, gather outside not inside. So when we return to school we keep ourselves and others safe.
Domestic Travel: Safest is just with your family, go to a place, only interact with your family & come back. Pre-traevl testing recommended by CDC. Post Travel testing and quarantine is recommended by not required. AAPS encourages testing.
International Travel: Is higher risk – time on plane, airports, mixing of variants. The CDC recently added a requirement for people flying back to US to have proof of negative test 3 days before departing. Applies to US citizens & others. If you’re traveling internationally, students should self-quarantine for 10 days and get tested at 3-5 days.
Baskett: Questions on testing. You mentioned needing parental permission. Are we doing anything before an incident, or are we doing that in advance.
Bacolor: The way I envision doing it based on other districts & our athletic teams: Parents pre-enroll in program and sign approval. It is not for symptomatic. They have to leave the building and get a PCR test. The antigen testing is a screening tool. MDHHS says to have a target of 25% of high school students. We have a lot of thinking and logistical work to do. It is screening and we’d have consent ahead of time.
Baskett: Are we talking just high school students?
Baskett: If a student develops symptoms, we are requireing a test?
Bacolor: There are three options. Parent picks child up and gets information on free testing, when to keep child home (symptom wise), or they can take the child to the doctor. If the doctor says this is strep throat, they can come back if they follow the symptoms.
Baskett: Are we requiring diagnosis confirmation?
Bacolor: Yes, we are asking for documentation.
Baskett: Did the county offer any guidance on how to enforce quarantine on travel?
Bacolor: No. It’s more guidance and recommendation.
Baskett: I don’t want to send a false expectation that we’re tracking every parent and their travel/quarantine time. We can’t enforce anything, correct.
Secondary In-Person Hybrid Learning
Secondary In-School Hybrid Learning
Late this week publishing the registration form. Scheduled to begin transition on April 12. Principals will share plan.
The week of April 12 is PSAT & SAT week. We had no control over that schedule.
Before I get into the plan, I want to share information on end of year activities. We’ve worked with folks at EMU Convocation Center where we have done graduations for the 3 comprehensive high schools. We have achieved a plan with EMU for a traditional graduation ceremony based on health guidelines the first week of June. Either indoors at the arena or outdoors at the EMU stadium. The current public health guidelines will require limiting attendees per graduate. Obviously indoor limit will be lower than outdoor. By public health guidelines, following all public health protocols with masks and distancing. We do know they will look a little different, but we are delighted to say we can do this. For Community and Pathways, they will also be planning outdoor ceremonies for those campuses. As we did last year, all members of Class of 2021 will receive celebratory yard signs.
We have said from the beginning and have repeated it, Secondary will be far more complicated to consider on the return to in school learning. Students carry full viral load, similar physiology to adults are larger people, schools are larger in population. It is worth stating our students will not be vaccinated. While we’re thrilled the staff will be vaccinated, we are welcoming back older students. We will keep priority of health and safety. To keep that, we need to insure 6’ of social distance. Follow all of Super 6 anchored with universal masking.
Just on Monday, majority of K-12 cases in the start over the last week were in middle and high schools. 226 staff & students in 47 outbreaks and 675 staff & students in 74 ongoing. 68% ongoing at secondary level. Not to discourage us, but to balance the mindset we have in planning their return.
It’s about 5400 elementary students. We don’t yet know numbers at secondary. We have to be prepared for students to return. You’ll see a daily schedule that balances student time seeing each of their teachers in the morning and transitioning around lunch. We know having students in unmasked lunch period there are risks inherent in that environment.
8:20-noon will be in school seeing every teacher. Transition to noon hour, providing lunches as they exit the building. Everyone can participate in free lunch and beginning at 1p, students will engage in virtual experience revisiting classrooms virtually. Students will be in home environment prior to dismissal of younger students. many families have need to have that support. Students can balance the day between strict protocols of in school environment and afternoon. Teams can focus on support and intervention in the balance of the day.
Other large district peers – Troy, Plymouth/Canton have used virtually identical schedules. Surrounding districts have brought back low percentages of secondary students. Our hope is this more balanced day we can bring back a greater number of students. Our goal is to honor choice & preference of each unique family and student situation.
Ms Parks & Mr Deangelis have additional information
Parks: Families will have option to remain fully virtual. There will be some changes as teachers work with students in person and online. But delivery will remain similar.
AAPS Secondary families can expect to receive survey in the coming days. All of secondary schools will have school based information sessions next week.
Responsibilities for family & Student
- Screen Students for symptoms
- Keep student home when exhibiting symptoms
- notify if student or household member tests positive for COVID
- Send with mask & water bottle daily
- Available to pickup student if they show symptoms during the day
- Be patient as hybrid plans may change to meet student needs
- understand student or staff may need to quarantine
- Wear mask at all times – except eating, drinking, or medical reason
- Follow school rules to keep physical distance
Cohort 1 will be A-L on Monday/Tuesday and Cohort 2 will be M-Z on Thursday/Friday. Wednesday remains asynchronous virtual learning. (Some school split may be different ie A-M & N-Z)
Middle School return will break up long block to a morning and afternoon session
It allows teachers in afternoon to teach in virtual mode that we’ve done all year. Where there are challenges with some students in each mode, there is time where all students are remote.
High School Schedule: High school start time has been adjusted to 8:20a. Advisory remains virtual. Seventh Period (option) has no in person option.
Students in self-contained programs are in person all day. Wednesdays remain remote and asynchronous.
Gaynor: I think I have 5 questions. You mentioned graduation possiblitiy> I assume that is just for high school. Thoughts for other schools.
Swift: We’re not prepared to speak to that, but it is plans we’re working on.
Gaynor: Lunch at secondary level, but will there be some students provided lunch t school and how does transportation work?
Swift: Any student who wants lunch can get it as they exit the building. If a parent request or needs the student to consume at school ew’ll work on it at an individual basis. But overall, it’s removing the “restaurant risk” of unmasked congregating setting.
Gaynor: So 7th hour get short shrift. It’s only at the end of the day and stays remote. I don’t know if there’s any way around this. I am interested in high school advisory period and question what happens in that 40 minutes even if it’s just Monday/Friday. Will kids come back for it?
Swift: 7th period is an additional opportunity for an extra class. I think you’ll record it’s accessed by very few students because it is beyond the regular 6th period day. It doesn’t mean we won’t think about how it could be face to face at some point, but it’s beyond the normal dismissal.
DeAngelis: We’ve made adjustment to the HS advisory period. There was some concern teachers would want more flexibility in how they interact with students vs the scripted SEL (social emotional learning) for those classes. Several weeks in, we moved to scripted lessons provided only on Mondays & Fridays. Tuesday & Thursdays, students can spend time with advisory, seek support from other teachers, or just unplug and have less screen time. That applies to most students. We are using in a few places to serve some purposes like personal project for 10th graders at Huron High School. Prior to the block schedule, we had a class dedicated to it. When we come out of spring break, they’ll join everyone else on the Monday/Friday plan. And Community HS is famous for its forum and used to be an hour of the day, advisory is Forum and most weeks they attend 4 days a week.
Gaynor: I had some impression that Forum only met once a week, you’re saying it met every day?
DeAngelis: I’m not exactly sure, but it was built in the schedule and they’re using Advisory for that.
Gaynor: I heard from secondary teachers after their staff meetings today when they were introduced to the schedule, many expressed expectations that since it ws remote in the afternoon they were told they couldn’t leave to go home to teach remote afternoons.
Swift: I appreciate the question. I’m confident in our teams and AAEA and will trust them to continue their discussion and provide clarifications & I’ll share those back. I will share that there will be students int eh buildings through the day – self-contained, students in need due to family situation. It’s early in our process. We’ll see how many choose to return. I’m confident teachers, principals, teams will sort that out.
Querijero: Design of the layout with the remote hours. I get we had a block schedule. When we weren’t in hybrid you could have time to reteach. I’m curious why we’re not putting all blocks on different days. So they could get daily checkin with teacher.
DeAngelis: I’m giong to take a stab. The advantage of a block is you have the long extended time which offers unique ways to present. The high school blocks were 105 minutes. If we wanted students to see all 3 teachers, the day would have been late afternoon and then we would have had students in school to long without feeding them. We thought about leaving existing schedule and only have 2 morning blocks in person and afternoon block remaining virtual and didn’t think that was fair. For example as student who gets support in math or virtual intervention & that remained virtual all year.
Querijero: To clarify what I was asking. Once we decided we couldn’t do 105 minute block, did we consider whether we would have remote hours be the other classes – ie Block 1,3,5 in morning and Block 2, 4, 6 in the afternoon so students see students each day.
Swift: I believe the goal of the hybrid is to try to mirror the consistent experience we’ve had this school year. It might be an improvement to add the other classes in the other half of the day. But we’re trying to mirror the schedule we had.
Querijero: Since you don’t have the long time anymore, it seems a benefit to see each teacher every day.
Parks: This was discussed. When we did block schedule it was to reduce the class transitions a student has daily. By having blocks 1,2, 3 to keep consistent with reducing transitions with subjects & teachers.
Lazarus: About office hours. I don’t see any time for office hours for students who stay 100% virtual. Students who are seeing teachers in person have possible one on one contact. I don’t see that on either middle school or high school. How will we handle.
Parks: The 30 minute afternoons can look different ways. They could be office hours format, breakout rooms, might do a quiz, continuing lessons, etc. The afternoon time would be flexible so they could do that.
Lazarus: So teacher has to let students know how to do that. I see travel/busing/lunch is the same line. Are we anticipating kids will e eating on the bus on the way home.
Swift: That’s a perfect segue to the next section.
Johnson: Thanks for the presentation. If I can share with the public, I know I pressed you a lot on this. You talked a bit about different options tried for lunch> Can you share a bit what was considered and challenges in executing those options.
Swift: We really looked at mapping out in HS & MS how many students could fit in an unmasked location for lunch. Even in the large high schools, it would be about 60 students in the normal lunch setting. Then we would need to proceed and of course Ms Minnick is looking at tents & other outdoor things. Even with adding additional staff and space, we could only be able to have 30% enrollment to keep CDC mitigation protocols. I know folks will say other districts are having everyone. I’m responsible for keeping CDC protocols in this district. We have mapped out eating areas. We know students would require to sit in one spot to remove mask for eating. The requirements of the protocol would diminish the in school experience and we could not have the same high number of enrollment if we balance the day. We are looking at additional outdoor spaces. As a comparison, restaurants were just raised from 25-50%. To get 6’ with secondary students we needed 30%. Some of our partner districts are having 6 lunches with slots starting at 9:30a. We felt that wasn’t the level of experience our children deserved and our families expect.
Johnson: Passing time, we haven’t spoken about it at all. I know earlier Miss Linden said with quick passing there isn’t much transmission option. Can you share a little about that?
Swift: Yes, there will be marked signage and everyone will know how to travel and have to go briskly to not get the 15 minutes over the 24 hours.
Parks: I would add our principals are working those details to coordinate movement in the building. Some will depend on how many students come back. They are working those logistical
Johnson: I’m sure locker placement will play a factor too. For seventh hour, if students are doing sports & other activities. Is there any thought around smaller groups who do 7th hour or sports, we let them stay on campus to minimize transitions back and forth from school.
Swift: We will work with students & families where there is a need. One of the principals said this schedule allows them to meet those needs in a way that would be difficult if everyone was staying.
Kelly: If we have a significant number of students who come back, would our transportation fleet support switching to be in-person in the afternoon instead of the morning?
Swift: We’ve arranged transportation will also run at 3:10p. Not necessarily to flip the day, but to allow students to stay in the afternoon if they had a need.
Kelly: My thought is have the remote chunk of the block at home in the morning and come after lunch and come for the in person. Not run HS in the morning at all, and come after lunch.
Swift: At this time, we don’t have a plan for pickups from home at noon.
Food, Transportation, & Building Readiness
Liz Margolis: We are working on the secondary release at noon. Traditionally eating on buses is not allowed. We will do what is necessary. Kids will probably be eating on the bus since they’ll need to log in to next class when they get home.
Food is free for breakfast & lunch & USDA has extended free meals through the summer. That will continue through the summer. Families will get a lunch online ordering system.
Ordering lunches ahead of time will help for orders. Breakfast is “on-demand” now. It will start as cold breakfast and then transition to a hot breakfast.
Families need to register for transportations. A week from tomorrow will share routes & students assigned to each route. It is understandable this is a new thing and we had a few families miss and we are adding them. They plan to continue bus registration process in the fall. Students are eligible if they live 1.5 miles from school or for safety busing. Reminder IDT & School of choice aren’t eligible.
Cab providers for special needs & homeless students have signed an amendment to abide by CDC COVID protocols.
DriveLine is a new dismissal system at elementary & Ann Arbor Open for pickup. Each family gets an ID with a hangtag. Student stays in room until family ID is entered and students are released. Dexter uses it currently. Everyone says it does dismissal system quicker. In pandemic planning, it helps maintain distance.
Rice: 15 days before kids in building. Work with ABM on cleaning schedule, review deep cleaning on Wednesdays and over the weekend between cohorts. Sneeze guards are being added. Water filters replaced
Lauzzana: A big change is new control for enhanced indoor air quality mode. All HVAC filters replaced and density increased as much as possible. Commissioned about 1000 HVAC units. Now well above code minimum of 2.8-3.5 air changes per hour. Most AAPS spaces are now providing 5-11 air changes per hour (ACH). 5 ACH is considered excellent in mitigation of disease spread. In areas without the 5ACH, will have portable air cleaners to increase above 5 ACH. Not recommended for all spaces as they are loud.
Documentation will be published for each school.
Lazarus: I have a couple questions regarding buses. I know they are very important in terms of cohorting. You didn’t provide a little diagram of how they’re sitting – every other, across from each other, etc. On my kids bus line, the number of kids on the bus was low, but in other areas will we need to add buses to keep kids socially distant?
Margolis: That’s what we’re doing now. As we place kids on routes and fine tune the routes, we’re dong our best. Every other seat, switching side of buses. We’ll let siblings sit together. We’ve switched to a 2 tier. Middle and high school students may ride together. We are limiting number of kids in vehicles, but we don’t have enough to double buses. We’ll have seating charts that will be consistent to maintain that. Some routes have few riders and it’ll be easy. Others have more students and might be harder to do.
If we wanted to cohort we’d need almost double the buses and drivers.
Lazarus: I appreciate that. I want parents to understand this is a puzzle. As much planning as we try to do ahead of time, there’s things we need to figure out when we get there. We are implementing a very large district. It’s more than a small school of 300 kids.
Swift: One other mitigation strategy on the bus and I’m grateful it will be spring is those windows will be down. They have to be to make sure we circulate the air.
Lazarus: I’ll also say having siblings sit together may not be a great idea.
Gaynor: Speaking of circulating air, I have a couple ventilation question. I know an outside consultant is doing a room by room assessment, but it’s behind schedule.
Swift: I intend to review a substantial part of the report. We want to focus on elementary buildings and publish that. That’s an email I was about to send to you.
Lauzzana: I would say we’re at about 80% completion. There are about 15 buildings at 100%. A few buildings have a couple pieces of equipment we need to dig further into. It’s the last 10%. We should have substantial completion on elementary buildings by next week.
Gaynor: People have been suggesting different measures, box fans in windows for example> Do you anticipate need for those, or do we have high enough air flow without these.
Lauzzana: I know many people have seen the NYTimes animation. That simulation is deceiving. It doesn’t include the existing ventilation system which has been a standard part of designing schools since 1920s. Community High School has a ventilation system. It could be a benefit if implemented correctly. If you point it in, you could make it worse. Each building can have it’s own issues. If we bring in too much outside air we can have too much humidity and have condensation which can lead to mold.
Spring Rec & Ed Programs
A special postcard with a QR code that goes to AA Rec & Ed website.
Summer camps are happening. It will be a modified program. It will be up over spring break with registration starting April 12.
Youth Sports Leagues (Soccer & Field Hockey) for young 5-8th grade registration is now open. Early Childhood & Youth enrichment registration starts March 22. Adult Enrichment, Fitness, Yoga, Pilates for adults and many high school students. New free classes for seniors. Registration begins March 22.
In person PreK-5th grade in person sessions are very popular. Walk up is allowed as space permits – with no shows from registrations. For 6th-8th grade, the spring focus is on soccer.
DuPree: You said folks can do walkup. Is there a pre-screen questionnaire they fill out?
Bacolor: We have staff who ask the questions if they walk up. We also have supplies & can supply masks if they show without it.
Johnson: I met with the Rec & Ed board this week & I’m probably more aware of what happens in the district and I’d forgotten about how much programming we’ve done for our children since fall. We have been trying to provide opportunities for social emotional connection. Maybe we can get a recap at some meeting because what you’ve done is major.
AAPS Next Steps, Spring 2021
- Final Preparations for Stage 1 Continue
- March 25 & 26 opening of in school learning for stage 1 students & staff
- Next Week
- Special Education Family Information Session
- Middle & High School Information Sessions
- Middle & High School Registration Survey
Dr Swift shared a video of with photos from each of the district’s building.
Monthly Budget Monitoring Report for January 2021
As of the end of January, the cash is $5million less than last year. Monthly expenditures were $19.8 million for the month which was pretty typical.
The summary of all funds YTD shows 4.1% less in revenue than last year and 3.8% less in expenditures.
This year, there is a 6.5% decrease in the fund balance.
Gaynor: With confusion in Lansing about funds from the legislature and Governor Whitmer’s line item veto of some items. Do you know if the extra money for schools in person by March 22 where that stands?
Swift: Ms Minnick will respond. This is that time that whatever we think is true may not be true. Ms Minnick didn’t bring a budget update because we’re deep in the fog. The Legislature is not finished and there will be more where that came from.
Minnick: Dr Swift did a good example of laying the framework. I don’t want to overcomplicate it. A simple way to explain is there are two funding streams. The federal piece and the school aid fund. What we know from the legislation and line item vetoes, we were awarded 43% of the federal monies. Any additional money is still being discussed. There could be another bill and more actions taken. We understand that about 43% of the federal and typically MDE will comb through the legislation and give guidance to school districts what the rules, term definitions, and how to navigate the process.
Swift: You opened the door, so here we go. I want to add we will according to what we are hearing have a state budget prior to the end of June. I want to moderate our expectations.
Annex AN-2026: Annual E-Rate Reimbursement Application for Network Infrastructure Contracts
Swift: Dr Kellstrom is watching for full reimbursement of our work with erate network infrastructure. Thank you for your record of getting us the maximum reimbursement we can get. The network is the pencil and paper of our new virtual existence.
Kellstrom: The e-rate program helps schools & libraries get the best prices for networking equipment. Switches, basic maintenance, hardware, etc. and managed network services for the operation of the eligible network. The e-rate program is a 5 year cycle and schools get a budget. The 2021-2022 begins a new e-rate cycle We have a budget approximation of $2.9 million. Recovery cost will vary 37-50% of our purchases. The guidelines do change year to year. We work with a consultant.
The request is for two e-rate services that we put out for RFP bids. Now is not the time to get lesser quality products, we have a high quality CISCO system.
The WiFi access points this is part 2 of equipment refreshment. Last year we did secondary. This is for the remaining. 860 WiFi Access Points. Sentinel Technologies has a proven track record with large school districts, including prior AAPS work. They have gold standard prices and gets a deep discount. They have a strict escalation process.
The second purchase is for a managed service contract. This is a 3 year managed contract. They help with warranties, updates, system upgrades, and provide on site support. IT department is boots on the ground. We work with staff and families. Sentinel helps manage the system. This is $450k bid annually. The other bid was $2million annually.
From the two proposals, e-rate would bring $800k back annually. This is coming from the 2012 tech bond.
Baskett: I noticed a substantial difference between the two amounts. You mentioned we don’t want to go on the cheap, but your recommendation the cheaper is better. Was there a misunderstanding in the bid.
Kellstrom: We actually reached back out to the vendor to make sure they meant annual costs. NetSolutions has an annual income of $1.8 million. Our project would be more than they make. They don’t have the resources vs. Sentinel which has a vast team. That’s the discrepancy back to the purchasing power.
Baskett: How long has the second vendor been in business?
Kellstrom: Quite a while. They haven’t worked with school districts much before. They’ve mostly worked with small businesses. There weren’t a lot of vendors out there for the e-rate services. It has taken a lot of effort to get technology products this year.
Lazarus: I wanted to thank Dr Kellstrom for providing the two options to show we do bid out competitively. Sentinel is a company we’ve worked with. We have no complaints with their work. We’re into the tech world. There services have been our buildings since September. It’s good you did your homework on thees companies. I’m confident they’er well qualified and can provide the services since they have been. I’d typically be skeptical of the big gap between the proposals and not having a third.
Annex AN-2025: Roof Replacements – Huron High School, Bryant Elementary
This is a tribute to our community for the bond and our sinking funds. Not too long ago I was regularly emailing hte board a list o actively leaking roofs. This has been improved with our community, and Mr Lauzzana and his team.
Summer 2021 roofing endeavor. We do most of this work during the summer because it is disruptive to learning.
Lauzzana: We did a complete assessment of roof assets in 2018-2019 and built a replacement schedule to help maintain them. This summer we have almost 10)% replacement at Bryant and a big portion at Huron. Not only are we replacing roofs but providing the right substrate to add solar panels in the future. We’ll have solar panel recommendation for Bryant later this year. We have a solar system already approved at Huron for a section previously replaced. We’re also increasing insulation to meet or exceed current requirements.
$614K for Bryant and $1.32 million at Huron. Total of $1.935 with a 15% contingency. Asking for a $2.2 million total. The district has worked with both contractors before.
Baskett: You mentioned it was summer work. Do we expect completion before fall?
Lauzzana: That is the intention and we are coordinating with the summer programming to make sure.
Baskett: And trustee Lightfoot is no longer here, so I guess I get to ask the warranty question.
Lauzzana: It’s a 20 year warranty.
Approve board meetings from February 24 meeting. Motioned by Gaynor. Seconded by DuPree. Unanimously approved.
Motion to hold Closed Sessions on March 16 at 6p and March 23 at 6p for attorney/client privilege.
Motioned by Kelly. Seconded by Baskett. No discussion. Unanimously passed.
Items from the Board
Johnson: Dr Swift mentioned that over the weekend we’ll hit the one year anniversary. I want to take a moment to acknowledge those who have lost their lives, suffered through COVID, recognize the front line workers, those who have helped one another out, those helping us all keep a positive attitude. It’s a short amount of time and long amount of time at the same time. The future looks brighter today than it did then. It hasn’t been easy, but today I feel a lot better than I did a year ago.
Motion to Adjourn by Baskett, Seconded by Gaynor. Unanimously passed. Meeting adjourned at 11:27p