September 16 Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education Meeting Notes

September 16 Ann Arbor Public Schools Board Meeting Notes

The Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education met on Wednesday, September 16

Table Of Contents

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Meeting Summary

The meeting was long – lasting almost 5 hours and running until 1:45am, so this will be a long summary. In addition to the published agenda, the board asked to add discussion of the resumption of Fall Sports and Spectators specifically at football games.

Public Commentary

There were 25 public commentary submissions. The comments focused on a few key topics:

  • Virtual learning is not working primarily for young elementary and students with special needs
  • Please provide more information on when we will return to school, concrete metrics, a date, etc.
  • Continuing sports is not consistent with virtual school
  • Overall praise for how teachers are working, the difficulty is the circumstances
  • Fewer comments applauding remaining virtual

The Board and Dr Swift had minimal response since many of the themes will be addressed in agenda items

Reimagine Learning Plan Update

Updates on Food, Tech, Supplies, Connections+, & Recreation

Food distribution has passed half a million meals since March. They are now offering late afternoon pickups and will restart home deliveries. We have more details in our School Meal Distribution article.

School Supply kit distributions will be September 22-25. These will be supplies they typically have available in schools, Fall 2020 textbooks and workbooks, musical instruments, PLTW kits for middle school. This will be handled at the school level and will be conducted with a goal of distancing.

More than 16,500 devices and 200 hot spots have been distributed. They are also helping families signup for Comcast packages including helping to pay the fee where needed.

More than 200 students are currently participating in Connections+ groups at various community partners with support from AAPS.

Return to In Person Learning

Dr Swift started by reminding families that we will progress from full virtual to hybrid to full in person as the numbers allow. Families will have the option to remain fully virtual. The decision had to be made in mid-July. Washtenaw County had its lowest cases in late May, early June. There was a small bump after Memorial Day and a larger bump in mid-July after July 4th. Cases dropped again in early August but have risen again with UM returning. At that point, AAPS focused on the strongest virtual start possible. 95% of the 45000 students in Washtenaw County are returning to learn virtually. At the end of the meeting Dr Swift commented that during the meeting 2 high schools in the larger region who had opened for in person learning announced closures due to cases. I have seen Novi High School closed, I do not know the other school.


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Dr Swift commented that even with in-person school it takes 2-3 weeks to settle into the routine and we are only in day 3 fo full in person learning.

The transition to hybrid will be in 3 stages.

  • Stage 1: Early Elementary (PreK, Young 5, K, 1st, and 2nd grades) Plus students with high impact special needs, English language learners across all grades.
  • Stage 2 – Upper Elementary (3rd-5th)
  • Stage 3: Secondary Students starting with middle school

The single best policy to support school re-opening prior to the development of a vaccine or treatment is suppression of COVID to near zero case incidence.

This can be achieved via universal mask wearing, rigorous social distancing, reduction or elimination of indoor congregant settings and testing, tracing, and supported isolation”

Harvard Global Health Initiative

Draft Process for Returning

Here is the process we are developing. It is still a work in process.

  • AAPS reviews public health metrics daily. Ms Bacolor and Dr Swift review together in the late evening
  • AAPS team will review metrics with the BOE in a briefing at least once a week. Dashboard will become part of every board meeting update
  • Post updates to AAPS Data Dashboard at least once a week – (note some metrics only update once a week)
  • Once metrics are achieved or close, AAPS will begin transition by briefing BOE, AAPS team, and parents/community
  • AAPS team will monitor that metrics hold for 14 days while informing parents of proposed beginning of transition

Trustee Lazarus asked about setting a tentative date. Dr Swift and other trustees were largely opposed to a date since people will remember the date but not that caveat that it depends on conditions. The district does not want to be disappointing people. There was also discussion about the Board setting metrics to reopen and the district making the decision that they were met vs the Board setting metrics and when they are met the Board meeting to approve the return to school. President Johnson suggested requiring Board approval only if they would agree to calling an emergency meeting and not having to wait weeks for the next board meeting.


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Proposed Metrics

Proposed Metrics for Return to School
  • New Daily Cases
    • Down is Good, Up is Bad. Flat depends on total cases
  • New Cases/million – from MI Safe Start Map – 7 Day Moving Average
    • Set Medium Level 7-20 cases per million as the goal
  • New Cases/100k – from Harvard Global Health
    • They seem to do a better job counting cases – it is not a straight math transition
  • Positivity Rate
    • We don’t have surveillance testing in the US like in other countries
    • But Michigan is testing much more than other states.
    • Need to be <3% positivity
  • Washtenaw County PK-12 and 0-18 Cases
    • No specific risk levels, but monitoring and using best judgement
    • Are there cases in county in schools?
    • Michigan.gov just started releasing K-12 and College/university populations, but only updated weekly

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Where Are We on Proposed Metrics

Washtenaw County tipped into high for cases per million on Wednesday, September 16. We are definitely seeing the impact of the university population – 52% of new cases were ages 18-22. Based on a question from Trustee Gaynor Ms Bacolor said she is concerned about the discrepancy in data between MI Safe Start and the Harvard numbers. Her feeling is that the MI Safe Start may be undercounting. It also classifies cases by date of symptom onset so data is often delayed. So a positive test reported today may be in today’s numbers for Harvard (cases per 100K) and a week ago for MI Safe Start (Cases per million).

Trustee Lazarus asked what happens if we reopen and numbers and metrics start going in the wrong direction. Executive order or the Washtenaw County Health Department can shut schools or part of the district. The district’s COVID Preparedness Plan also sets out what to do with cases in schools.

The final verdict of the board was to treat this as a first briefing on the metrics and vote on them officially after a second briefing at the next Board Meeting (September 30)


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First Briefings

Typically the district brings items to the board in two briefings. A first initial briefing and a second one when the items will be voted on.

Solar Installations

The district is proposing to use sinking funds to purchase ballasted solar panels for A2 STEAM, Haisley, Huron, and Forsythe. These schools were chosen because they have recently replaced roofs, and are efficient locations for solar. The panels cost $1.3 million installed and will save $85k annually from the general fund. The district will be producing 750,000 kWh annually – the equivalent of removing 70 cars from the road. Other buildings with new roofs were less ideal because of multi-story buildings having decreased roof space or not having prime solar placement due to tree cover.

Timelines: Roofs have 20 year warranty, solar panels have 25 year production warranties and typically last much longer but at decreased production. Payback is estimated at 13-15 years. The inverter from DC to AC current has a 15 year warranty and will likely need replacing at that point, but it is a small portion of the cost.

Selected Slifco as the contractor. The lowest bidder was an out of state contractor who did not yet have Michigan licenses or selected sub-contractors and had not worked with the state code. This felt like too big of a risk. The second lowest bidder seemed too small for this job. The AAPS job was equivalent to 60% of their previous year’s revenue and they only had 2 licensed electricians. Slifco is based in Troy and typically hires Washtenaw County workers for these jobs.


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Demolition of Buildings on Adjacent Clague Property

Three buildings on the property purchased adjacent to Clague need to come down. Rather than traditional demolition, AAPS is looking at deconstructing them. This will allow materials to be used by AAPS (lumber, cabinets, etc) or sold to other groups. It helps save material from the landfill. This is a relatively new approach in our area, but has been done in Detroit. As such, the district is asking for a larger contingency of 20%. It is a small job at $134k.

Addition of Bryant Preschool Playground

In the reimagining of Bryant/Pattengill a preschool is being added. A preschool playground is fully fenced in, but the gate has a non-lcoking latch outside the reach of preschoolers so the community can use it when school is not in session. The equipment was already purchased and is at the contractor. They are behind on installs due to the COVID closures. If school reopens before it is installed the district should still be able to get a temporary certificate of occupancy for preschool to start.

Bryant Preschool Playground

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Pediatric Therapy Associates

This is the renewal of an annual contract with Pediatric Therapy Associates to provide services. Services are billed per hour provided. At Trustee Lightfoot’s questioning of how COVID has impacted the costs of services, Dr Fidishin said they are trying to provide what they can virtually but some services are not being offered now so costs are currently less than normal. Costs will likely be higher than normal. Once students can return to school with increased therapies.

Responsible Contracting Policy

There was a fairly nuanced conversation between the board about verbiage differences between may consider and shall consider. and which would lead to more flexibility. Also there was some discussion of what the district is asking the bidders to certify and the district liability in certain cases. it was also mentioned that the AAPS bid package is already fairly detailed and cumbersome for contractors to submit bids and district staff to review. Care should be taken not to add too much additional burden in this process.

Special Briefings

Special Briefings are special requests that don’t go through the two briefing process before a vote. They are voted on after the special briefing. Akll of the special briefings were approved uanimously.

Purchase of Digital Music & Virtual Performance Tools

The district is purchasing apps to include sheet music for students and to facilitate remote synchronous concerts. In addition they are purchasing specialized headphones for students to use with the apps.

Emergency Purchase of School and Art Supplies

This is a bulk purchase of the supplies that the district normally buys. Instead of stocking classrooms these will be sent home with students starting next week. They are planning to use CARES funds for this because these are additional supplies being sent home. When the district returns to hybrid learning they may need more supplies to stock the school buildings.


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Emergency Purchase of PPE

This summer the district made an emergency purchase of PPE including masks, gloves, face shields. This briefing is to come back to the board for approval on the purchase. The purchase made this summer is estimated to last for 8 weeks at full hybrid. With our phased in hybrid, it should last longer. Although early elementary and special education will probably use PPE at a faster rate than older grades. They clarified some numbers that when the briefing referenced units of masks or gloves those are actually multi-count boxes and not individual masks or gloves. They did buy gloves from multiple vendors in multiple styles. Some can be due to quantity restrictions and availability including supply chain delays.

Used PPE can be treated as trash unless there is a known or suspected case. Then they will be treated as medical waste. The plan is to add this to the existing medical waste disposal contract currently in place for things like needles.

Items From the Board

At the start of the board meeting, the board members voted to add these topics for additional discussion.

Fall Sports

Dr Swift stated that athletics is not the same level of risk as being in a classroom. Fall athletes have been practicing for more than 2 months and and have not had an outbreak. The Governor’s order requires a mask at all times during athletic activities. The district did look at allowing only the outdoor sports, but because the two indoor sports are female it became a legal issue. It is also an equity issue as parents of means were talking about withdrawing and having their child play in a neighboring state or enrolled in club sports.

Several board members stated they would have preferred the Governor’s order preventing the high risk sports form happening had stayed in place. Many of the trustees expressed concerns about fall sports and having them and wished that Dr Swift had consulted with the board before allowing sports to continue. However, most of these also said they were not willing to overrule her know that student athletes are starting their seasons.


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Trustee Gaynor moved to cancel high risk sports as designated by MHSAA. Dr Swift pointed out there may be legal concerns about splitting it that way because more female teams are affected and would want to get legal involved. There were no seconds on the motion.

Trustee Gaynor then moved to cancel all fall sports and received no seconds.

My sense is if resuming fall sports had been a board decision rather than a district decision that Gaynor, Lightfoot, and Lazarus would have voted No with President Johnson leaning towards a No with the others appearing to be Yes votes.

Football Spectators

Trustee Baskett argued to allow two spectators per player at football games specifically because of the dangerous nature of football. Dr Swift was uncomfortable going on a sport by sport basis and expressed concerns about needing to police social distancing in the stands. Trustee Kelly pointed out that even professional athletes are competing without fans. It was hard to hear she couldn’t stay to watch her child at a meet this weekend after driving a distance, but we’re all hearing no a lot.

Trustee Baskett moved to allow 2 spectators per player with precautions in place and with the Booster parents to develop the protocols with the penalty to suspend spectators and not the sports. Trustee Nelson seconded the motion. The motion failed with Baskett and Nelson voting Yes and everyone else voting No.


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Attendees

Board: President Johnson, Trustee Kelly, Trustee Gaynor, Trustee Nelson, Trustee Lazarus, Trustee Baskett, Trustee Lightfoot

(I apologize to Trustees Baskett and Lightfoot for leaving them off the original attendee list. I was 2 minute late to join the meeting and missed roll call. I added the attendees by sight and they were joining by voice only. I did not realize they were present until they spoke during trustee questions).

Board Motions

Fall Sports

I missed the first few minutes. They were voting on the motion when I joined. It passed with Trustee Kelly dissenting. The motion was to discuss the return to fall sports.

Spectators at Football Games

Trustee Baskett has made a motion about spectators at Football Games.

Trustee Kelly – is spectators separate than sports or just a category of sports.?

Turstee Bakett my motion is strictly on spectators at football games

Trustee Lazarus – I would like to keep them separate, I think there are different issues that come into play.

Trustee Nelson – I agree on keeping them separate, but it would make sense to have them adjacent to each other.

Motion Passed unanimously.

Dr Swift asked that questions around spectators she will need clarification on spectators at all sports.


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Public Commentary

27 Signups for public commentary, 2 did not provide their comments so there were 25 comments. The Full Comments are available on Board Docs – these are paraphrased as they were read quickly and due to the number of comments they were time limited and longer comments were not read in full. I have corrected all names, and a few typos. Please refer to the full text

  • Laura Schram – I emailed the entire board to express comments on learning experience. I didn’t receive a single reply. Both of my children have special needs – one with a 504 and another with an IEP. These services they receive were hard won over meetings over several years to meet their need. A child like mine what a diagnosed need for movement cannot sit still for hours on end. They are deserving of an education in the least restrictive environment way policy.
  • Jesse Kauffman – Schools exist to foster intellectual social, & emotional learning needs of our children. The virtual supports maybe intellectual for older well-supported children. I’m disappointed that you threw money away on systems for online learning.
  • Alyson Robbins – My son is a kindergartener at Angell. I know my son’s teacher is doing their best to make this work. We are appreciative of their time and energy. He has just finished a great music class. My family is lucky we both work at home, have strong wifi, were able to align outdoor childcare for Wednesday. We are happy with online and can be patient while we learn from other schools. I also have high school students and we are so grateful they can resume athletics.
  • Tracy McKeown – Like so many parents I am dismayed that students are not back in classroom. Distance learning is not effective and is creating anxiety. Students aren’t learning and getting social interaction they need. I received an email from AAPS staff that return to learn is only being evaluated once a month in the 3rd week. Many surrounding districts have returned to school successfully wihtout large outbreaks. There aren’t even any outbreaks at UM. You should be working on a plan to get elementary back in the next week or two. The advantages to sending kids back far outweighs the risk. I thought AAPS was taking the lazy way out and having no intention to return back
  • Jason Allgood – How can you say it is justifiable to have high school football with teens with same risk as adult but too risky to have elementary back in school?
  • Elizabeth Hill – Writing as a pediatrician but also as a 1st grade parent. Please don’t just measure metrics on a page for COVID risk, but it is also important to evaluate the implications of remaining closed. It has shifted risk to someone else. Daycares ,sports centers, etc to keep virtual learning there. They are also being watched by neighbors, grandparents, etc and shifting risk to lower wage workers and in many cases older relatives. I ask we also look at how not opening is impacting community infection rate. Why are we placing burden on children and not others? We can go to a gym, out to eat, salon, high schools can play,
  • Jamie Pero – This is my second email pleading for learning to resume in a hybrid format. My kindergartener came crying that they couldn’t look at a screen any longer. She was taught basic signs to communicate with her class. Please communicate with us what the plan is to return to school. So I can decide to continue with AAPS or home school or look at another school.
  • Lena Kauffman – I am concerned we haven’t yet announced a date for when We are under 25 cases per 100k set by Harvard for when in person outweighs the risk. Low rates of hospitalization, test rates, no deaths. I understand role of schools in spread, but many students are in day care, with elderly family. These are without the funds AAPS has.

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Trustee Gaynor pointed out that the next comment from Beverly Davidson provided to the board by Ms Osinski had the same text as the previous. There was some discussion about the use of form letters, but that many comments today did not look like form letters.

The comment was not read and has been added to the BoardDocs Public Commentary in the Agenda. Beverly Davidson is happy with the virtual return to school and impressed with food and tech distribution. However, she expressed concern about the return to athletics in this environment and expressed concerns about prioritizing athletics over performing arts and other extra curricular activities and socialization opportunities.

  • Alex Bean – I think my son’s first grade teacher is trying to make it as good as possible. However online school just doesn’t work for young kids. Instruction frequently grounds to a halt for tech reasons or tech not working for kids that young. By the time the issue is resolved few students are still engaged and the point of the lesson is lost. Morning meeting ends up being 20 short conversations between the teacher and each student. It is frustrating to see a student excited to share, but by the time unmuted, the teacher has moved on. I ask administrationa nd board memebers to observe a class
  • Arend Von Der Lieth: I have concerns about the BOE plan to return students to the class. The plan seems to have a goal to procrastinate. The number is ridiculously low. Take Germany, the limit for a county to impose restrictions is 50 cases/week. Using the cases per 1 million seems impractical since Washtenaw County only has 370k. It focuses on total cases despite number of deaths and hospitalizations remaining low
  • Andy Ault – We understand some parents are pressuring the schools to reopen. We do not support despite the challenges remote learning . We are parents of a new K, and chemistry professors with expertise in aerosol transmission. I was one of 200+ experts to write to WHO about aerosol transmission of SARS-COVID-2. This led Dr Fauci to publicly announce infection aerosols from asymptomatic can remain for hours after screaming, singing, and even speaking. We urge the district to listen to public health. When it is safe, AAPS must take steps to limit transmission
  • Jen Larson – I submitted comments last week and the week before and will until you show you have not left our children behind. I love our school and believe teachers are making valiant efforts to teach my children. However, it is still not working for parents or children. As a specialist in child development, the current system is not working. It is far above the recommended screen time. There is undue burden on families especially those more likely to follow behind. IEPs aren’t being met, families with fewer resources are struggling. Current programming requires at the elbow support. Our children need a high degree of support.
  • Rachel Mellinger – I am reaching out to voice my concerns to join families who are disappointed. We are school of choice and felt our daughter would receive a better education. When virtual learning was announced, we felt confident. But the promise of less screen time and supports has not been met. She was so excited to be a kindergartener and learn to read and use the school playground. In 1.5 weeks, she is asked to be in zoom for hours and breaks are used for quick bathroom and snack trips and do assigned works. Kids were excited to talk but only get a brief time before teacher mutes them again. There is no break from Zoom.
  • Vincent Van Drongelen – Now that we are in the first week of school, we and our new Y5 daughter are happy. Enrollment and pickup was smooth. We were not sure what to expect and how our daughter will handle it. The teacher has a clear method and schedule. It has worked for our daughter. We have read many unhappy parents, but we are glad you have decided safety is a priority for students, staff, and community. Rise in cases show it was a good call to make school virtual. It takes some getting used to.

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  • Jason Bibby – Today is the last straw with me thinking you know what you’re doing. Wednesday is asynchronous which means kids stay in bed and sleep all day. I’ve seen no understanding of the system you chose and not tested across all grades. I thought saying you were excited for fall was wrong, but gave you the benefit of the doubt. But there is a lack of putting the kids first. I am embarrassed
  • Karishma Collette – We have a K and 5th grader. We are dismayed at lack of transparency in transition to hybrid learning. It is not equitable or fair that the district clings to 100% virtual without a hybrid. Working parents are desperate and moving children from environment to environment . Learning pods, soccer teachers, a hodgepodge without consistent safety measures. Both our children’s teachers are working hard, but early elementary need someone making sure they are engaging. A hybrid plan would ease this.
  • Katherine Sharkey – Please establish a plan with metrics and dates. Length of day needs to be shortened with less screen time. Teachers from Abbott & Forsythe are heroic. We made it work by hiring someone 5 hours a day and adjusted our schedule to help our children. We knew we had to stay home and flatten the curve. We’re making it work with a hodgepodge
  • Lori Skibbe – I am writing with concern about the plan with 4 children. One has an IEP and needs extensive learning supports. This spring it was problematic but as an educator I know how hard it is to learn new ways. The youngest learners in my house are in 1st grade and they cannot learn independently. No instructional activities were provided to 3/4 children today. If this continues, AAPS will fail to provide the required number of days. Plans for my student with a disability were not developed until late August. I don’t think online learning can meet his needs. The district has not been thoughtful to work with families and provide with service they need. We still have not heard from many service providers
  • Kate Cochran – It is clear my son’s teacher is phenomenal. She is rolling out tech slowly and using tech age-appropriately. Even with the best support, it is not appropriate for his age. He is miserable every day and hates school even though he loved it last year. I can’t believe in a district as large and well-funded as ours we don’t have metrics to return. We need to think in the public health impact. So many children are being bounced from environment to others. We’ve shifted the burden of childcare and education onto low paid day care worker. Will you share metrics, will their be tiered
  • Anne Marie Sammartino – I have a 1st grader and a 5th grader. Like other parents I have mixed feelings. I’ve been impressed with care and thoughtfulness in my children’s teachers. I am also deeply concerned about reopening without clear testing plans to prevent outbreaks in schools. My 5th grader says online school has thrown all the good things about school in the garbage. No one should kid themselves that kids aren’t suffering. It is precisely the most vulnerable – youngest, special needs, poorest
  • Katie Hale – Nurse Practitioner and mom of first grader. Her teacher is doing a fantastic job, however my 6 year old is miserable and disinterested in school. My husband and I work at the hospital and our daughter attends day care 2 days a week and a neighborhood 2 days a week. Is this equitable? No, but I don’t know what else to do. As most of you now hour+ zoom meetings are painful. Yet kids are asked to do 4+. Return to school can be done safely and must be done. We should not use ultra conservative metrics or the same metric for elementary and high schools.
  • Eli Ruben – First as an AAPS parent, I’m grateful for the hard work everyone has done with these awful circumstances. I feel the district needs to revaluate the policy especially for young children (K-2). One of us has to be with our son at all times to keep him engaged. It is impossible to do first grade via Zoom. It is not possible to keep 5-6 yr olds on mute and engaged. We will adapt as we can, but we cannot keep our jobs when we are doing the teachers job to keep our son engaged. We’ve accepted our first grader won’t get much out of school until this is over. We were hoping the district would provide other avenues at least to socialization

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  • Laurent Fournier – Thank you for education our children while keeping the community save. I have kids at A2 Steam and online has been a great success
  • Julia Madison-Williams – I appreciate the effort into virtual learning. But it is not sustainable. COVID-19 won’t be extinguished in the near future or even the school year. Please consider phasing students in quickly.

Dr Swift: We hear everyone’s concerns. Some will be addressed later in the meeting. Dr Fidishin will be following up on family with IEP who has not heard from providers.

Reports from Associations

PTCO – The full PTOC statement is on BoardDocs : We have a new board representing school PTOs this year. (They read the positions of the board). The mission of PTO Council is to support students and encourage collaboration between PTOs across the district. We acknowledge hardships families are facing. We stand with students, families, staff, teachers, and the BOE. Our theme for the year is Surviving Together.

Information

Return to Learning Fall 2020 Highlights

We have visuals instead of a lot of words. The district shared a video with images from the first week of school – tech distribution, teacher setups, classes, student’s first day pics, food distribution, etc. If I find the video, I will link it here.

Gaynor: I think this is hokey, but it got me as a retired teacher. I want to go back.

Swift: About 98% of students in Washtenaw County began school virtually. This is a common condition. We do not minimize the challenge for students, staff, and families. We can take questions, comments or roll right into next section.

Baskett: Thank you to the team for putting that together. It is always good to see the students. Seeing student’s workspaces puts my corner to shame. (And I apologize, my audio cutout mid comment)

Johnson: I’d like to echo that. I have 2 kids at home who started last week. A couple days with some tears and we worked through that together. We are all in this together. We are hearing the concerns and experiencing them as well. It started more smoothly than I’ve heard in other areas. I thank you for the hard work you put in – just the technology on the back end alone.


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Reimagine Learning Plan Update

Dr Swift: This is a standing item on our agenda and has been since spring (when it was called COVID Plan update). Thank you Trustees for updating this week after week. We made sure to include all of our board presentations are posted on Reimagine Learning Page. But I understand people are so busy right now and haven’t been able to keep up with everything.

Tonight we are covering:

  • Food, Technology & Supply Distributions
  • Fall Recreation Debut, Wednesday September 23
  • Return to In Person Learning Plan
  • Metrics to Return to In-Person Learning
  • AAPS Data Dashboard

Food Distribution

Just passed 528k meals served. Summer Emergency Food Distribution continues through December 31. Breakfast and Lunch for 7 days per week. Chartwell’s team members now on buses to assist with distribution. Home deliveries will be restarting. Call 734-994-2264 for more information. It is drive-through so it is very safe for minimal contact.

Note: We have updated our Food Distribution Information this week

Ann Arbor School Lunch During Virtual Learning

Connections+ Groups

About 200 students are currently participating. Designed to support through local community center. Ms Margolis is working with them, AAPS provides staff so students have support with virtual learning. Some support occurs virtual and some is face to face. One community group started a group for Latinx students and is now in progress with 24 students.


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Technology

16, 500 devices have been distributed as well as 200 hot spots. They are also working with families to sign up for Comcast packages including help to pay the monthly fee.

School Supply Kit Distribution

Supply kit distributions will be September 22-25. These will be the same supplies (or close) that they would usually have in school. More specific information will come from your principal. Schools will be doing it their own way. Musical instruments will be distributed, books from last year can be returned, distribution of Fall 2020 Textbooks & workbooks, PLTW kits for middle schools.

Return to In Person Learning

Through the year, AAPS will progress from full virtual to a hybrid model to full in-person. In the hybrid model, students will be in person some days of the week and virtual others. Hybrid allows to keep social distancing with smaller groups in person.

Just like the governor said this is a dial we turn not a switch we flip. We may go back and forth in levels. Our focus is to do the best to see the rates come down so we can have as many days as possible of in person learning.

I want to remind families why the decision for virtual learning was made. From mid-May-June 6 it was where we want to see it. After Memorial Day weekend, case numbers ratcheted up with a peak in July/August. They have come down in recent weeks but are still far above late spring numbers. Virtual or in person had to be made by mid-July which is when cases were at their highest.

We agree with families that the best place for most students is in person. There are particular risks with gathering indoors. Classrooms, lunch rooms, arrival, departures, they all represent gatherings and that is a risk. District is working to prepare protocols, processes, operations, school buildings.

The single best policy to support school re-opening piror to the development of a vaccine or treatment is suppression of COVID to near zero case incidence.

This can be achieved via universal mask wearing, rigorous social distancing, reduction or elimination of indoor congregant settings.

Harvard Global Health Institute

Guidelines from CDC virtual only is lowest risk. More risk is our hybrid model. Highest risk is full in person return.


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Three Stages of Return

  • Stage 1: Grades PK, Y5, K-2 Students and willing students across all grades most in need of in-person learning (special education, English Language Learner, others with special needs)
  • Stage 2: Grades 3-5
  • Stage 3: Secondary students beginning with middle school

Ms Parks is in charge of transition to hybrid. She reiterated the stages above It is a coordinated across many departments – leadership teams in employee groups, transportation, food service, special education services, etc.

Swift: 95% of 45k students in Washtenaw County are virtual. We focused on the strongest virtual opening possible knowing we may move in and out of virtual. Tomorrow’s superintendent update will focus on digital library available to all students. Tonight we will look at performing and visual arts software. We are committed to strong learning connections. We have made an investment of energy, effort, and training.

2020-2021 Strong Virtual Opening

Today was day 3 of full day virtual instruction. It is normal even in-person to take 2-3 weeks to settle into routines of the school year. SISS teams, special providers, social workers, counselors are monitoring students and will add supports as needed. Many will be delivered by members of a team. Supports related to home or community may be delivered at a community center.

During hybrid, some students will high impact needs will be in small learning groups and receive additional face to face time.

Process for Next Steps

I appreciate work of Planning Committee on Friday. We have implemented some of the feedback from them and emails from parents. Planning Committee said lets confirm a process and be prepared once the metrics are met.

Here is the process we are developing. It is still a work in process.

  • AAPS reviews public health metrics daily. Ms Bacolor and Dr Swift review together in the late evening
  • AAPS team will review metrics with the BOE in a briefing at least once a week. Dashboard will become part of every board meeting update
  • Post updates to AAPS Data Dashboard at least once a week – (note some metrics only update once a week)
  • One metrics are achieved or close, AAPS will begin transition by briefing BOE, AAPS team, and parents/community
  • AAPS team will monitor that metrics hold for 14 days while informing parents of proposed beginning of transition

This is a draft process for the Trustees to discuss. Our hope is to have this settled by the next meeting at the end of the month. The Continuity of Learning Plan was passed and now needs to be updated for Fall 2020 which will be at the September 30 meeting. This would put AAPS in synch with other districts in the county who are looking at November/December potential return.

Swift; Should we pause for questions?

Johnson: I think we should wait for metrics and discuss it all at once.

School COVID-19 Metrics in Context

Dr Swift said this would be on BoardDocs for the public, but I don’t currently see them.

Ms Bacolor provides an update.

School district have the best chance of successful in prson reopening when there is very low community spread over a priod of weeks. By successful it means not having to close again quickly. Community spread is when people don’t know where they contracted COVID from.

Three Common metrics are used:

  • Number of New Cases
  • Number of new cases per 100k or per million
  • Diagnostic Testing Positivity Rate

Harvard Global Health says look at 3 levels – local (county), region, and state. We know AAPS is connected beyond Ann Arbor with students/staff coming from other counties. The MI Safe Schools Return to School roadmap doesn’t provide specific targets and local health departments are not providing either.. There are many dashboards and sources of data and vary in how a case is defined – lab confirmed or probable, timing in how they report (7 day or 14 day moving average), how often/when they are updated.

AAPS Approach to Metrics: No data indicator can tell the whole story on community spread and each has limitations. Monitoring several helps get a better picture. Some dashboards use a single data source and may miss cases. Calendar is our time, not the virus time. That’s why AAPS is focusing on metrics and not a date.

AAPS Data Points Sample Dashboard (Screenshot from presentation)

  • New Daily Cases
    • Down is Good, Up is Bad. Flat depends on total cases
  • New Cases/million – from MI Safe Start Map – 7 Day Moving Average
    • Set Medium Level 7-20 cases per million as the goal
  • New Cases/100k – from Harvard Global Health
    • They seem to do a better job counting cases – it is not a straight math term
  • Positivity Rate
    • We don’t have surveillance testing
    • But Michigan is testing much more than other states.
    • Need to be <3% positivity
  • Washtenaw County PK-12 and 0-18 Cases
    • No specific risk levels, but monitoring and using best judgement
    • Are there cases in county in schools.
    • Michigan.gov just started releasing K-12 and College/university populations, but only updated weekly

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Where are We?

Washtenaw County just tipped into High for Cases per million today. 52% of new cases the last 2 weeks were in ages 18-22. Definitely seeing impact of university population.

Trustee Questions

Nelson: At the beginning we talked about food distribution. I want to reiterate it is a phenomenal effort that is so important. It is one of the things I am proud about. I think some people don’t realize the extent to which the district provides social services to families. Over 1/2 million meals served already.

Baskett: I echo Nelson’s positive comments. Despite some of commenters thoughts, I know you had no summer vacation. QuestionFirst, Dashboard is beautiful in conveying information in a vibrant way. I see various levels. Why are we not considering monitoring staff or older people? Should we consider the impact on our staff (teachers or not)? There is a chance they can catch outside our building. That’s probably a question for Ms Bacolor. Dr Swift, should we consider the impact of staffing on our building. If we decide to return, some of our staff is vulnerable/have vulnerable loved ones. How many would retire vs coming back. I want to put it out there.

Bacolor: I honed in on early age group because there is a mythology that young students don’t et COVID-19 and the profile changing in Washtenaw County is something we need to consider. Some young people are more impacted especially African-American and Latinx students. We don’t get data crossed – for age and race. Just total by age and total by race. Staff by executive order have to report positive cases to us. We have had 2 cases this summer and processes are working well.

Gaynor: In addition to food distribution, I also want to give a lot of credit to IT department along with help desk. Ms Bacolor, I’m going to ask a question about getting metrics right. It’s understandable parents want kids back in school. Can you go into more detail on data sets on cases per 100k vs cases per million. It does seem data doesn’t support a return to school, but can you talk about differences.

Bacolor: I am concerned when I see discrepancy in data reported in national dashboard from MI Safe Start map. MI Safe Start based on MIDHHS. Based on date of onset for symptomatic case and date of test for asymptomatic and that can be undercounted. Harvard uses multiple sources – MIDHHS, CDC, and other data sources. I can follow-up and sen you what they list out. It seems to be more up to date. MI Safe Start is often 3 days behind.

Swift: MI Safe Start seems to be about a week behind.

Bacolor: What is Harvard/Hopkins data a few days ago.? Also, on dashboard we have to put when we collect data. I collegted at 8:30/9a this morning and would probably be slightly different if I pulled again today.


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Gaynor: I know there are comments we haven’t talked to enough data experts. Can you share who you have worked with?

Bacolor: We have contacted Washtenaw County Health Department. They are our primary source and guidance. I’d love to talk to the commenter who was part of the aerosolization study.

Swift: We have reviewed many state’s sets of metrics. I am in communication with superintendents throughout the US as recent as today. I am disappointed to share some states have adopted metrics that are more politically based.

Lazarus: Thank you Ms Bacolor. On testing positivity rate, are all the data including symptomatic and asymptomatic o

Bacolor: If we look at MI Safe Start Data, we can look at lab confirmed and probable. Washtenaw County only updates probable on Thursday. So it isn’t super clear what the lag is getting into MI Safe Start.

Lazarus: So we are comparing apples to apples not apples to orange.

Bacolor: It is hard because Harvard/Hopkins don’t have positivity rate. I’m alos looking at UM Campus data and their positivity rate. There cases are in Washtenaw County, so we don’t want to “double count
them.

Lazarus: I’ve seen dashbaoards and cases. Do you feel confident we are getting schools reported correctly. Are schools required to clearly share that info?

Bacolor: Schools are required to report student, staff, or volunteer – anyone present on school property – cases.

Lazasurs: If we’re looking over 14 days and find out we are good and we start rolling kids in, and it starts going in the wrong direction and we can’t sustain it. What is the plan? Do we shut back down or keep it until we sustain for another 14 days.

Bacolor: Howell high school closed due to one case and symptomatic siblings in the school. If we see community spread has gotten haywire, an executive order may reimpose shelter in place. Washtenaw County can alos shut down parts of the school district. The other piece is when we have cases in school. What Howell did and Hartland High School closed for 2 weeks too. You need to quickly close the school for investigaton so as not to expose kids. That is more for isolated cases in a biulding.

Swift: The COVID Preparedness Plan we already reviewed includes whether it would be a class, grade level, entire school. We have processes in place. Over the last two weeks an umber of schools have closxed the whole school. That’s really when the health department gets involved.

Bacolor: We’ve had teens in Washtenaw County become infected but it didn’t happen at school so it isn’t a school case. Once school goes back, that can be a school case.


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Kelly: I support the main goal of opening and STAYING open. I also want to comment about Dr Swift’s presentation on how services and needs will be met in hybrid. I remember when my kids ere picky eaters at toddlers the advice was look at nutrition over a day, a week. Providing services is like that. Let’s look at recovery services, summer work, etc and not just this “meal” In hybrid some kids will be going twice as many days as other kids.

Is that 5th line on the dashboard the space for agility as new information is available.

Bacolor: Often times we talk about decision making on data. But you also need to look at local context. If numbers are ok, but a neighboring district has cases that might be extra concer4n.

Kelly: It’s just like a forecast for a lot of snow. Folks can watch metrics, see things turn green like watching the weather, but still wait just like we wait for a notification like the snow day robocall.

Swift: Kelly & Lazarus both mentioned how quickly it data is changing. During this meeting, we have been informed of 2 local high schools that have closed due to schools.

Kelly: My next two questions are about the how and where of the data. How does this become official? Is it a question for trustees or Dr Swift. Where can parents look? Is it on A2 Schools? In a letter home, etc.

Swift: We are listening to board tonight and whether you want to hear back again, whether you want us to finish and post it. It is your call. We do see dashboard on A2Schools and will say what day of the week it gets updated.

Nelson: At the beginning of the discussion testing and tracing has been a central topic. South Korea has done well because they had more testing. You’ve talked little about testing and tracing. I’d like to hear more of your thoughts. If we have cheap tests and rapid response we get information quickly that we can use for people to know whether they should be quarantined. Testing & tracing seems so unrelated to how we would proceed.

Bacolor: I know that testing turnaround time impacts every data metric. We don’t have data about testing. We don’t know and I’ve asked the health department and it doesn’t seem to exist. I’ve asked county about how tracing has been going and how many of our students are in quarantine (We know some). Part of it is public health has been underfunded. Data systems are terrible, it’s not easy to get the data. But I don’t know how we can track it.On east coast and LA Public Schools are doing testing of students. They have a health system & research partner who are running it for them. It is $4/student/test. It would have to be twice a week per student.

Nelson: Testing of staff and students is not part of our plan.

Bacolor: I don’t feel it is feasible for us to run a testing plan. Frequency, cost, follow-up.

Lazarus: Our community has been very patient with us. We have all expressed it isn’t where we wish we were with virtual. WE can’t open school like turning on a light switch. I’d like to ask about a discussion for a date of possibly opening. And also make progress towards possibly opening. If we can’t we’ll give ample notice that we have to move it back.


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Johnson: Let me interject, I think in our planning committee we discussed dates as well. We know people re giving arbitrary dates and we felt it was disingenuous to create a date we don’t know we could hit it. Putting out metrics was more realistic. Either they get pushed back or are upheld and things get shutdown again. Planning on an arbirtray date doesn’t help it gives false hope. A data driven approach avoids that.

Baskett: Thank you for community’s information not all members of board are part of the planning committee. I am not open to setting a date. People have short memories and will hear what they want to hear. People won’t hear it depends on XYZ and will be disappointed when we can’t meet that. Thank you for planning to reopen where we can stay open and not shutting down. That isn’t easy either. I’m not even open to discussing it.

Johnson: Getting back to metrics, you talked about positivity rate of diagnostic tests and if it is under 3% it is low risk and shows us that testing is being done at appropriate levels.

Bacolor: The draft white paper has a source from Harvard Global Health about why tests need to be below 3%. It’s a way of judging if enough tests are done. If it is too high, it means not enough tests are being done. Below 3% adequately represent testing control.

Johnson: I know we talked in Planning Committee as to how often we check data. Originally monthly, then talked about daily. As we talk about 14 days, if on 15th day we fall off do we restart or does the rolling average cover that?

Bacolor: The purpose of 7 day moving average is to flatten out spikes and valleys. You see more of a flat curve than ups and downs and it is not as reactive to sudden number of cases. If it’s the 15th day, it would depend if what it was. I’m not as concerned about the Michigan column we’re more concerned about local and regional. This is why we consult with local health department.

Kelly: How do we want metrics to be official? Is it board action or should it be with the district to be agile to new information.

Johnson:

Kelly: My understanding from planning was we were more comfortable setting metrics and having district be able to give the go word.

Lightfoot: I feel we should make decision and protect school district so that we are aligned with that. I still believe the board should make a decision. We still need metrics. As Ms Bacolor has shown, it is more than just meeting a metric. Just meeting numbers isn’t enough. Even when they come back with numbers, we should be sharing with the decision making.

Nelson: I agree with Trustee Lightfoot. It would be good for the board to approve the metrics as a general guideline in a way that doesn’t constrain the administration from bringing additional information. I would be good calling this a first briefing and bring it back as a second briefing next week. I would prefer where the administration is charged with bringing a recommendation to the board based on metrics and its judgement. For example if all but one are satisfied and it is closed, we can judge to go forward. Let’s not be so bound by math and have a discussion and if the majority of the board votes to open schools we do.

Lightfoot: Just to add, more than the metrics it is the board’s job to consider capacity – teaching staff, transportation services, food services. This district is more than just the metrics. We have to be prepared to make decisions that the public information may say yes, but the internal district information may not be ready.

Kelly: I am hearing from Nelson & Lightfoot it is a two part option for the board to weigh 0in. First on metrics and then to say the Go word. Would the trustees still want to publish the table and metrics. I’m not sure we could give the false hope where public data says go and internal says no. I absolutely agree with Baskett about absolute no on a date.

Lightfoot: I am ok providing data along wtih the proper context.

Nelson: I like your analogy of the weather report. We know predictions of a blizzard may or may not be correct. Most of us want the weather to give us predictions of what the whether may be.

Johnson: I fully support superintendent and her team giving a recommendation at some point. But we should give ourselves flexibility to have a special meeting and not have to wait two weeks fo r a board meeting. We’re working on staffing now right? We are not waiting until we get the go.

Lightfoot: As the floor is shifting we don’t know what that means. If we roll in just special needs vs elementary. As it shifts, we have to shift and adjust as we deal with retirements or teachers who only want to teach remotely.

Johnson: Trustee Nelson suggest treating this as a first briefing and bringin this back as a second briefing. Dr Swift is there anything else you need from us.

Swift: We have good feedback from the planning meeting on Friday and this meeting. I do think it is important two things: First, that I want everyone to know the ability to stay virtual all year will remain in place. I don’t want parents to feel they will be compelled to return to school. Secondly, I never want to have this discussion without reminding everyone it is on all of us on whether we get community spread to where we can open schools. Wearing masks, maintaining 6’+ distance and washing hands. This is imperative.

Gaynor: If we bring this back for a second briefing, can you clarify what the vote would be?

Johnson: The vote would be to adopt the metrics for the dashboard.

They are taking a 7 minute and returning at 10:05p


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First Briefings

Annex AN-2000 Solar Installations at 4 Schools

Mr Lauzzana provided information on solar installations. Thanks to the sinking fund, we are replacing roofs on many buildings. The new roofs are perfect for installation of solar arrays

A2 Steam, Hasiley, Huron, and Forsythe. Total capacity is nearly 600 kW producing 750,000 kwh yearly, enough to power 63 single family homes. Annual savings of 83000 dollars. Removing 70 cars from the road.

Best way to install on a school roof is a ballasted rooftop solar array. It is not directly attached to the roof. Cement blocks prevent wind from getting under it.

Each building would only see installation on a portion of the roof. At Huron it would just be on the central bridge which just had its roof replaced.

All of the data will be able to be monitored online. He showed a sample production from a small array already installed at A2STEAM.

We recommend to reward to Slifco Electric for $1.3 million dollars with a 10% contingency to be paid from the sinking fund. They had 8 bids. Lowest bidder was out of state without licenses. Had not selected sub contractors. District feels it is too much of a risk since they haven’t worked with the state codes. Second lowest bidder was bigger than we felt they were qualified to take on. It was 60% of their revenue last year. Their subcontractor only had 2 licensed electricians. Slifco is a large organization


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Lightfoot: The weight added to the bridge at Huron. Can it handle it.

Lauzzana: We’ve consulted with an engineering firm who has worked with DTE. They add 6-7 pounds per square foot. We provide documents or they open up the walls. They have verified we have sufficient structural capacity.

Gaynor: Can you give us lifetime expectancy of panels, roof, and what payback period is and other considerations.

Lauzzana: Roof warranty is 20 years but often last longer. Solar panels include 25 year production warranty. They degrade slowly and produce a bit less year over year. There are are 50 year solar panels. The inverter from DC to AC electricity will need to be replaced sooner and has a 15 year warranty.

Lazarus: It is good we are using so much available safe. It is good to see 8 bids and it means people want to work with us and we know we have qualified contractors to choose from. I do know when Slifco comes in from Oakland County they do hire local Washtenaw County Workers.

Kelly: When you say there will be savings, does that include cost of material or installation or on what we spend on utilities at the biulding.

Lauzzana: We will purchase with the sinking fund and it will generate $85k in electricity we usually would have bought from the general fund. Break even point is a little tricky but 13-15 years is typical. From that point we are making money.

Kelly: So with those sinking fund movney wer are seeing seavings in the general fund. How were these buildings chosen?

Lauzzana: Driving factor is where we have done roofing in the last couple of years plus solar exposure. There are a few schools where tree cover would make this difficult. Or a multiple story building the same mechanical equipment is in a smaller roof area. We don’t want to put it on an old roof, then in 5 years move it to replace the roof than reinstall.

Kelly: What happens when we produce more than is being used on site. Do we store it, redirect, sell it back?

Lauzzana: Through the DTE net metering program we get credit for excess generation. We don’t have true net metering. We are paid a subset of retail rate. Hopefully it will evolve over time and at schools we will send a lot of electricity back to DTE in summer when they are running peaking power for air conditioning. Net metering is governed by Michigan Public Utility Commission which has 3 members and has had some turnover in the last few years.

Kelly: If an advocacy opportunity arrises, will you let us know. Are there additional costs possibly associated with it.

Lauzzana: Barring any unforeseen, solar systems don’t typically require any maintenance. This is pretty much all inclusive.

Kelly: Will we have to shovel them?

Lauzzana: Snow does tend to slide off them. They are black and slanted.

Lightfoot: What did you do different with this bid that generated so much interest? On the advocacy piece, I would love to see AAPS lead on this. On the roof, challenges that occur under where solar panels are, how challenging is it if a leak occurs under it? Is it move a couple panels, or more.

Lauzzana: Roof leak detection technology has come a long way in the last 10 years. They look for where the insulation is wet, so it would be more selective than removing hundreds.

Lightfoot: We’re saving about $83k/year. So we’re doing this for more reasons than just saving money. It’s because it’s the right thing, carbon footprint. 25 years goes fast especially for facilities. Would that require new bond money, doing what at that time?

Lauzzana: That’s the warranty on the solar array. Other than a defect in manufacturing, most of the warranty is solar production level over time. They measure that by degradation. Day 1 will have 100%. Year 2 will be 99.5-99.7%. By year 25, you warranty says you’ll still have a certain % of capacity (I didn’t run the number). Year 15 you will need to repalce inverter. But you may just keep replacing inverter and say 70% of capacity is still good.

Lightfoot: What is the cost of the inverter:

Lauzzana: I couldn’t tell you today and will get back to you. It’s probably about 15% if I had to guess.


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Annex AN-2001 demolition of Buildings on Adjacent Clague Property

Dr Swift: The property next to Clague has 3 buildings on it that need demolition. Mr Lauzzana is giong to use this to take advantage of a deconstruction project instead of just demolition.

Mr Lauzzana: Deconstruction vs demolition: We are excited to be partnering. In traditional demolition a fair amount of recycling happens. They separate bricks and concrete from steel and some will go back to recycle while some just gets landfilled. In deconstruction, you do a survey prior to demolition and decide what is valuable and reusable and have a value for you or resale market. We have a church, small house, and a pole barn on the property. Reuse is framing, lumber, doors, finish moldings, cabinets, etc. We re working with a contractor. We have bought their time. There is not a strong market/knowledge set in this area. It has been done in Detroit. We hope to salvage material and reuse in buildings or find other organizations. Lessens the amount of construction that goes to landfills.

4 bids were received. Lowest qualified was Simply Construction of Franklin at $134k. It is a small job, but we recommend a 20% consistency since this is new. This comes from the sinking fund.

Lightfoot: This was the house by Clague.

Lauzzana: The house and the former Lutheran church

Annex AN-2002: Addition of Bryant Preschool Playground

Swift: Part of our Bryant/Pattengil reimagining and equity plan is adding a preschool problem at Bryant. Students won’t have to ride the bus to Westerman Preschool Center. A preschool playground is a step beyond even the lower elementary playground. One of the distinctions is that it is completely fenced. I don’t think Mr Lauzzana has much to share other than the drawings. Even with the COVID closure the community can use it.

Lauzzana: The fence lock is a closure out of the reach of preschoolers but not a physical lock. Some of the existing asphalt will be included for tricycles. The purchase also includes new basketball hoops since the existing ones are in the new playground area and are in poor condition.

Lightfoot: I had a call from a parent and they were asking if there is any connection with the city or county in that space.

Lauzzana: It is 100% district property.

Lazarus: What is estimated completion time?

Lauzzana: They were backed up a bit because they lost several months due to COVID lockdown. I am hopeful it will be the next 30-60 days. The equipment is essentially in hand at the installers yard.

Lazarus: We asked if we would be able to open the preschool with schools if this is not compelted

Lauzzana: Typically you are able to get a temporary certificate of occupancy while waiting for this.

Baskett: There is a city park that runs off with a pathway from the park to the school and it is a play area but there is no equipment.


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Annex-AN-2003 Pediatric Therapy Associates

Swift: Every September you see this for approval. A trustee asked if we will be providing thiese in virtual mode. Yes, we will be delivering along with district and these services will transition as we move into hybrid. The value does vary a bit year to year based on our own staffing and student need in the district.

Dr Fidishin this contract provides physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy.

NelsoN: can yo ucalrify if these fnancial figures are estimates. Are we providing a rate structure or a set amounts that will be disbursed.

Fidishin: Right now dollar amounts and hours weekly are based on current estimates. We have a general estimate and if for some reason it changes on a monthly basis – students increase or decrease, the contracting agencies invoice us monthly as well.

Fidishin: Right now dollar amounts and hours weekly are based on current estimates. We have a general estimate and if for some reason it changes on a monthly basis – students increase or decrease, the contracting agencies invoice us monthly as well.

Lightfoot: My question is how COVID has affected the costs? Have we seen a decline with COVID and will see an uptick when we return.

Fidishin: We are trying to provide as much as we can virtually. We do know there are cases where we can’t rpovide the full amount as if we were face to face. Our service providers are providing help synchronously as much as possible in the virtual setting.

Lightfoot: So do you see a differene in teh billing:

Fidishin: They are billed slightly different than other contracting agencies. They provide us based on hours they provide services. Others provide based on position and not on hours. They are also cost effective since their hourly range is far lower than typical $65-90 for those services. For cost savings, I think we’ll see it based on what can be accomplished in virtual setting.

Lightoffot: Yes, I would expect a decrease now and an increase when we go back to traditional in person. Have you begun to use the variables you use to assess now that you are not in person.

Fidishin: We have two different groups – the students who h ave already been identified in past years. Then we have new students who may need services. We know there are some restrictions to conducting valid assessments especially where it requires physicality like physical therapy. Both our teams and national professional organizations are maneuvering this. We are identifying ways we can do virtual assessments in the virtual environment.

Baskett: I just want to remind everyone we have been working with this entity for some time. I want to commend them for being a loyal vendor.

Responsible Contracting Policy

We will be among the first district to have such a comprehensive Responsible Contracting Policy. It is straightforward in expressing core values in choosing best contractor for the job based on specific criteria that lives in the regulation. Thank you to members of the community who have helped get a strong and complete policy.

Joined by Mr Comsa and Mr Blaha.

Comsa: A lot of work has gone into this. It reflects district priorities. Responsible use of district funds, diversity, ethical use of funds.

Blaha: Regulations will be posted publicly. It meets laws (this was a lot of legalese)

Gaynor: Good faith discussions looking at the law. There is one significant (or maybe minor issue), just before the numbered list and I want to alter the part that says “may include but not limited to.” I feel like it should say shall include. I don’t want it to be optional.

Lightfoot: I don’t have a probvlem with that as long as it leaves us flexibility. And it gives us more emphasis on our intent.

Gaynor: I trust our staff, but if we’re doing a policy we should force it more.

Johnson: I know this has been discusesd elsewhere. Shall doesn’t seem to imply it doesn’t mean it will force us to use every criteria. But I’d like to hear what the lawyer ssay.

Blaha: From my perspective, may gives maximum flexibility. The regulation does say considerations will be made on a holistic basis. If the itemized are ones that are to be considered, shall maintains flexibility.

Lauzzana: The difference between may and shall or will is to some extent . We have heard from contractors that responding to responding to our bid requests can be burdensome with the number of documentation we required. It is also burdensome to our staff to review all the documentation. There are also a number of items on the list we are not qualified to evaluate. For example training programs contractors would have for safety., drug/alcohol screening programs. We are not currently in position to evaluate the efficacy of the program other than to check that they have one.

Gaynor: I think the certification that they have one is good for us.

Lauzzana: We like certification because it puts the burden on the contractor to say that yes they have things or no I don’t. We are ensured they are being truthful. If we discover they are not truthful it would be cause to terminate a contract.

Lazarus: Thank you for the work. I know it has been a long road.

Comsa: On the certifications we have drug/alcohol policy and they have to certify they read all the bid documents which include that they have all licnesnes needed to bid. As to properly classifying employees correctly as employees or independent contractors. As I recall, the discussion was that is between the employer and IRS. It would be hard for us to make the determination. The IRS has like 10-15 criteria as to whether they were a contractor or employee

Lazarus: My understanding is we discussed that and that is why we had it in the certification. We are not investigating. They just have to say they are not misclassifying employees. I thought that is how we decided to handle it. The other thing about the documentation is sometimes vendors go through different certifications or verification through different organizations to show they have experience to do the work. I thought we had it in the regs for them to provide certifications for example women owned or minority owned business

Lauzzana: In the bid we have a section asking for additional information they want to share. That is a good place for them to share this. We will sometimes cut things like third party certifications, cut sheets of successful projects, etc. Our concern is if we ask for other information and say shall consider that and they provide something we legally can’t consider in the evaluation.

As this is becoming more of a legal discussion on wording, I am going to take a break.


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At 11:54a Trustee Nelson motioned to extend the meeting up to 1a and was seconded by Gaynor. It was unanimously extended.

Special Briefings

Annex AN-2004 – Purchase of Digital Music and Virtual Performance Tools

Swift: These tools allow students to access sheet music through a library, the upbeat quote to facilitate a synchronous concert activity, and the specialized earphones needed for students to use these apps. There will be particular challenges for large group concerts and concert events. They are an important part of performing arts commitment to students. This tool will allow for students to learn and teachers to facilitate groups. Ms Minnick has reviewed clarification on CARES money and we feel CARES money can cover this. There will also be cost savings on custodial activity from concert, but we did not include that.

Nelson: If the answer comes later that is fine, can you describe diversity in sheet music selection..

Swift: You asked me that and I have to admit I did not close that loop. My understanding is it gives directors more latitude. But I want to check on that.

Baskett: Trustee Nelson I appreciate that question. In my experience it is teacher driven regarding diversity of music. Thank you for including video clip in presented document. This has my full support. My only question is – is it easy to use or is there time that needs to be sepent usng the app.

Swift: My understanding is that it is very straightforward and it aligns with Schoology. Students can play into their Chromebooks and receive feedback. Very staight forward and minimal setup for th estudents. ome work for the teachers to get the music setup.

Kelly: Is the use of this technology equipment Plan B or is it equipment that learning might give them skills that will make them more marketable if they want to pursue a recording career.

Swift: My impression from the teachers is it is both and they will want to keep it after.

Annex AN-2005 – Emergency Purchase of School and Art Supplies

Swift: I’ve visited with each of you over the last day. These are the suppiles we normally buy. This year we are buying them in one big order. Ms Minnick, how does this compare to normal.

Minnick: This bulk purchase is about the average of these supplies over the last few years.

Swift: One reason we won’t feel badly if you work it into the CARES grant we will have to provide supplies in classrooms as well and won’t suppose these will find their way back to the classroom. When we return to in person there will need to be additional replenishment of classroom supplies. These may or may not last through the second semester if we remain on virtual. We do include in CARES since we wouldn’t usually need to purchase materials needed in classroom.

Lightfoot: How do we get that equipment to the students

Swift: Next week the schools are planning drive through pickups with supplies in kits by grade level.

Lazarus: These are standard supplies and not supplies for specific class materials.

Minnick- Yes these are to equip general classroom materials. Not things like

Lazarus :So like scissors, glue sticks, paper, etc that many parents have around class and also donate to schools. Could we post what these kits are and those that already have parents can skip the pickup to help stretch dollars.

Swift: Yes, I believe Mr Cluley already has this on the website. So parents could opt out of the generic item. Certainly we always appreciate those donations. Mr Cluley corrected that the lists are not up yet.but they will be. The kit is already together so it may be as simple as the parent donating when we return back to the building.


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Annex AN-2006 – Emergency Purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

This summer we made an emergency purchase of ~$594K in personal protective equipment. This is housekeeping to get the approval for it. We don’t have models for PPE supplies for schools. Ms Bacolor estimates that this is about 8 weeks of supplies when in full hybrid mode.

Ms Minnick I know there was a question from Baskett that the price of masks was expensive.

Minnick: We ordered 3000 units which is a box of 50 so actually 150,000 masks at $0.31 each. We did obtain quotes from 6 vendors, 3 that we regularly work with. The vendor is one of the preferred pricing contracts.

Baskett: Thank you for clarifying. There was another cost as well, probably gloves.

Minnick: For the gloves from Cintas, that is 300k gloves, 150k pairs or $0.31/pair. The gloves from Coleman-Wolfe (spelling) were $0.52/pair. We wanted to have a variety for staff to test and we did that with other supplies like face shields. We had supply issues when we made the order in July and there may have been quantity limits which is why we had to reach out to multiple vendor to get the quantity we needed.

Baskett: These are suppoesd to last 8 weeks?

Swift: that is our guess since we ahven’t been in operation

Baskett: Did you say lead time?

Swift: We are working on that. Members of y team have become far more experts on that they they thought they would.

Baskett: If it is more efficient to order more than be caught without later on. I don’t know that we have too much of a choice.

Nelson: Did you say 8 weeks was assuming fully open.

Minnick: I want to say that was fully open.

Swift: So with our plan for phased openings it would last longer.

Lightfoot: This is another nuance when we talk about numbers to say we can go back. What is the conversation around disposal of PPE. I thought it was around $1 million. Not all districts can afford that. I’m not sure we can afford it for any length of time.

Swift: I hear fro Ms Margolis the only items that require special disposal would be if there is a suspected case. Then they would go with medical disposal like needles and items like that.

Minnick: I can’t speak for how it would look in the building but it would be secure. I don’t have the costs on medical disposal.

Swift: Ms Margolis adds we will need larger trashcans for special materials. As much as phased transition back to school, the youngest students and those with greatest needs will tend to use more PPE. The first stage will probably be a good test to how much we need.

Lightfoot: That is a good nuance on use of PPE and being prepared with other districts ordering PPE. How does disposal works

Swift: We already have a contract for medical waste we will see if we can add it on or need a new contract.

Lightfoot: When we talk about what it would take to get buses, food, custodial up and running. Even if we say yes, tehre is still a 30-60 day to get the district up and running.

Swift: It is always surprising even the ordering of food from the cafeteria there is a time lag. The 14 day hold the metric will give time to start this stuff. Each contractor has a small team still on and we are using them, but will need more. My team will begin to confirm the plan and confirm how long it will take.

Johnson: Both questions about gloves. I remember hearing/reading that gloves are seen as hygiene theater since you cannot absorb covid through the skin. How do we envision use of gloves? And second question is about what types of gloves they are with latex allergy.

Swift: They are latex and powder free. Largely be used for food preparation, handling disinfectants and cleaners, nursing team in health activities.


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Consent Agenda

Approval of:

  • Annex-AN 2004 – Music and Art Tools
  • Annex AN-2005 – School & Art Supplies
  • Annex AN-2006 – PPE

The board voted unanimously to approve the agenda

Board Action

Sports Discussion

Swift: I do understand the complexity of decision around athletics and hear concerns of trustees and community. It is a difficult challenging decision yet having students participating in athletics is not the same order of risk as being in the classroom for a full day of school.

Fall student athletes have been practicing for more than 2 months. I’m not going to say their adherence to protocols has been perfect. We have experienced cases ins students and adults, but have not had an outbreak. The governor’s executive order requires masks at all times during athletic activities of any kind.

Protocols are more strict than wht the governor orders. I have decided no spectators, but I understand that will be discussed seeparately.

We did evaluate whether the outdoor sports could be allowed and prohibit the indoor activities. We felt that was unfair particularly since the indoor activities were all female sports. We also felt equity that students of privilege were planning to play in neighboring states, enrolling in club sports, It is the students without means who rely on AAPS for their ability to participate.

We have not yet had a huge spike yet associated with influenza. We did say if there is an increase in infection rate or lapse in keeping protocol, or a suspected or confirmed cases, that team or activity will be closed for necessary time. The fall season has been abbreviated. My commitment is to monitor and suspend if needed.

At the end of the day, there are students who engage for the hope of winning college scholarships and students have lost many opportunities in COVID times. In the risk/benefit it is a choice and not required.

I do understand we have worked to keep our students safe. I will honor the board decision.

Trustees you are aware there are a bunch of decision we are phased faced with at this time> We re n Phase 4 which is not sheltering. Other decisions we are faced with are SAT testing which is required to be in person and is an indoor activity. It begins next week. Next week we are launching Recreation opportunities for outdoor soccer or virtual events.

I know for each activity there are competing risks and opportunities.

Gaynor: Thank you Dr Swift for stating the competing interests. It is very complex with passions and rationale on both sides. I need to belabor the point we have been making decisions with safety as our number 1 priority. There are many families who want their students participating. I don’t find it to complling to choose sports. I think a discussion must discriminate between safe and less safe sports.

Lightfoot: I’ve talked to my colleague so I don’t think this is a surprise. I’ve considered those variables and competing interests. I do not support us having sports of any kind. I don’t support our pools being open and the costs and health risks. I’d like our teams focused on educating the students. To take on sports, child care, until the health community says otherwise. I appreciate my colleagues from haring me. The last thing I will say is upcoming recreation activity.

Swift: Recreation Activity through Rec & Ed are optional Wednesday for kids will be outdoor with masks and distancing.

Baskett: I appreciate the honest conversations and welcome it. Although I do not want to have the conversation to continue sports. In the case of football it has been done already. While I wasn’t happy with the governor’s decision I support Dr Swift in choosing to have sports. We cannot be jacking these families around again. Once you allow practice and get their hopes up, They wanted to play this week but we said next week. We said you can play, we can’t go back and say no. I was a football mom and ma now a football grandma. It is a dangerous game. We can’t have kids there without a resonsible family member there.

Lightfoot: I am with you that I am concerned about reversing course. I do think it is unfair tot he students even though I disagree with it. I am not advocating for the decision to be reversed.

Lazarus: Thank you for sharing decision and what you considered. I too was concerned that the governor allowed sports including tackle football to continue. If I had been part of that conversation, I would have erred on side of safety and would have said no. That is what we’ve decided in going virtual. To allow a full contact support to happen even though it is outside, it goes against what we’ve said. I agree we can’t push and pull kids saying you can, you can’t, but my concern is their safety. They will be full contact with a team form another area. It’s not a question of if but when and can we control it quick enough. Yes, they were practicing but in football it was not full contact, it was socially distant. We don’t have access to testing. Testing is the key to trying to control. I have friends with kids who play, and they’ve decided their child’s and their love for the sport outweighs the risk.

If I’d been consulted I’d say no, but I don’t want to reverse it now.


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Gaynor: I move we extend for up to another hour. Seconded by Lightfoot. Motion passed.

Nelson: I’m not sure why we’re discussing this if there isn’t a motion to change anything. But in the spirit, I favor the restoration of football once the governor changed expectation. I say this as someone who loved playing the sport. I am glad they are having the chance ot play it.

Kelly: I see this as part of a phased reopening. There are other parts of district starting before sending kids back to the building. Parents know the risks, we sign concussion waivers. This is outside

Fall sports won’t be going on concurrently with in person class for high schoolers. It own’t impact other families in the academic setting. My feeling about indoor sports in the winter are different since they will all be indoors and during flu season.

Gaynor: The argument that it’s the parent choice could be extended to the classroom. I don’t think that holds. Many of us would have found it easier if Governor Whitmer hadn’t left it to the district. Lansing is so far the only district I know to postpone fall sports. It was unlike the superintendent to make the decision without consulting us.

Johnson: I feel like Trustee Gaynor as reading my mind. It is hard to equate risks of sport vs. traveling to different places and contracting an illness. I agree with Lazarus and Lightfoot and with more information I probably would not have supported it. I am also sensitive to it is about minimizing risks now. In Rec & Ed we will be minimizing risk. I will keep a watchful eye on it. I hope we stick to the protocols. There are real deaths that have happened.

Discussion of whether to make a motion for a vote. Gaynor: I move for AAPS to cancel high risk sports as designated by MHSAA

Swift: There are gender concerns about dividing it that way. It isn’t necessarily by participants. I would want to get legal guidance. It is by number of sports offered.

There was no second on the motion.

Gaynor: I motion to cancel all fall sports. No seconds.

Spectators at Sports

Everyone is aware of tension of parents needed to transport students to events but not be able to enter and be spectator. I have concerns about liability particularly for indoor sports. And some of our teams are quite large. But I do respect the will of the board.
I’ve also thought about seeing how the infection rate goes and the compliance. I understand the safety concern raised by Trustee Baskett. Sports do carry physical risk and having a parent there for injuries is important. And parents who feel it is a special thing and wan to be able to see it.

I understand cross country and special teams have done a booster parent capturing video and broadcasting it.

While we can enforce rules on students and extra bus but I am not comfortable being able to enforce distance and masks in the stands. I understand football stadiums are large, but natatoriums and volleyball are small and it didn’t feel right to go on a sport by sport basis. I look forward to discussion and will carry forward the will of the board.

Baskett: My point of bringing this wasn’t to chastise, but to offer guidance and clarity for parents. If we move forward I’d like to see parents craft a process to move forward with spectators in the stands. I can’t see not allowing parents to be there. There is a lot of we as booster parents do a lot of work. If we tell parents they can’t come in they will stand at the fence, stand on cars, etc. Football has always been a working mans sport vs a country club sport I believe there is a less dangerous way. We should expect parents to self-discipline. You’ve been clear if there is a violation sports will be canceled. These kids deserve to have a parent or loved one there. Football is not like a kindergarten classroom. We have students who don’t drive. Students have to get to the stadium. we have freshmen & JV teams and even varsity players who don’t drive.

Kelly: Even after driving some distance to my own child’s met this fall I was not able to be a spectator. i will admit it was hard to hear no, but we’re in a time and circumstance where no is a theme. Professionals don’t have spectators. I don’t believe we can do a better job than MLB or the NFL. I love my kid but he is’t MLB or NFL. I don’t think it is fair to risk the entire season for to shut them down if there are violations with parents behaving badly. The best way to protect kids for the 5 weeks. That’s to minimize the ways it can go badly.Lightfoot: I appreciate that.As a board we should have come together as a board and said that. We should have been leading and guiding her. Here we are, we didn’t say no to football, here we are. I struggle that a parent would not be allowed due to injury, but in how it relates to enforcement. It’s a challenge in every arena. I’m interested in making sure our referees are wearing masks. If there are ways we can distance, and be safer, and smarter, I’m in supoprt of that.


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Nelson: I would be in favor of allowing 2 spectators per team members with a maximum per indoor space. That’s how I feel. On the enforcement side, should be no spectators not do away with the rest of the season. And blatant bad behavior not be tolerated. For some families sports leaves stories that last a lifetime.

Baskett: Thank you Trustee Nelson for reminding me of the 2 spectator thing. I appreciate suggestion of stopping spectators not games. This has been done elsewhere. Trustee Kelly I admire you and I would not have left my child at that game if I couldn’t be there. What there are 70 kids, that is 140 spectators. (I think she’s forgetting the other team). I don’t think we need additional staff like if we had a full stadium.

Lightfoot: I’m interested in protocols and thresholds that would be dealbreakers. I’d like the superintendent to have a clear cut of deal breakers. But what do we do at away games and what are thresholds that keep sports safe. How can we enforce while away at all. What if referees have cases.

Swift: The guidelines for everyone at the event are detailed in executive order. Emergence of a case or symptoms or suspected case has a clear process and protocol. We have strict guidelines from the executive order.

Lazarus: I have a serious concern about policing this. We have no control over our team and our students going to opposing fields and having our kids at other facilities. You can’t have more than 100 in a location. If it’s 140, how do you choose which parents can’t come. We have to mitigate exposure. We can’t condone and have over 100 people at a gathering. We would be encouraging that.

Johnson: I appreciate the conversation and it is a good one for us to have. This is something I want to provide guidance on. I expected a briefing on this before the decision was made. The comment was smart parents can figure something out, I think smart parents can figure something out. People have been going to church virtually. Once we did graduation virtually people loved it. I didn’t know parents were at tennis matches and socializing. I would rather crack down on that and have them in their cars it. If a kid is injured on a field, there typically isn’t much a parent can do. Medical staff can help them. A parent can be called.

Swift: I just want to share how much I appreciate this conversation and that our relationship allows us to have open and frank dialogue in person.

Baskett: You and the executive committee could have put this on the agenda at any time. I want to see what is in the executive order. A team could be over 100.

Swift: The executive order allowing football allows the larger crowd and is inconsistent with earlier executive orders.

Baskett: I move that we allow 2 spectators per player with precautions in place and with the Booster parents to develop the protocols with the penatly to supsend spectators and not the sports.

Nelson seconded the motion.

Kelly: I’d like to remind trustees of what we saw earlier in the pandemic which takes infection rate in an area to develop risk . Based on Washtenaw County numbers, Georgia Tech says with a crowd the size of a football game with 2 spectators per person would be 98% of having a COVID-19 contagious person.

Lightfoot: I can’t spuport it because it’s the one chance we ahev to vote on sports and I can’t support it based on the science and adding more people.

Lazarrus: I echo what Trustee Lightfoot said.

Vote:

  • Kelly – No
  • Nelson- Yes,
  • Gaynor – No
  • Johnson – No
  • Lazarus – No
  • Basket- Yes
  • Lightfoot – No

Motion is defeated.


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Items from the Board

Kelly: I apologize, but will make it fast. Planning committee met on Friday. Next meeting is scheduled for October 7 at 9a. Second: Dr Fidishin sent a link to MDE webinar earlier this week focused on return to learn for special education.

Baskett: This is probably for agenda planning, Dr Swift we have heard from parents regarding special ed and services offered. I’d appreciate more understanding of what are the issues. Where aer we running short. Can we have a special study session or an agenda issues.

Swift: It is very much the place we are in with virtual learning. We can plan for that and I will discuss it with Exec. I thin it is important to let our teams and students get settled into a routine. It was only the 3rd day of full school.

Gaynor: I would second that.

Johnson: I noticed a lot of references to advocacy – solar panels, void testing, therapy contract. I’d like to figure out how we create an advocacy committee. I know there is some experience on the board about how to lobby Lansing. It would also be nice to have some structure wth a new board in January.

Motion by Gaynor to adjourn seconded by Lazarus. Unanimously approved.

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