A Back-to-School Message from the Superintendent

A Back-to-School Message from the Superintendent
Posted on 12/31/2021
To Families and Caregivers of APS Students:

Throughout the holiday break, we have continued to monitor public health advisories as part of our preparation for a safe and healthy return to school on January 4. While an anticipated winter spike of COVID cases is a cause for concern, APS is aligning its safety protocols with guidelines released this week by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) to keep schools and businesses open and to keep communities safe this winter.

In a statement released December 30, the director of the ODH recommends a continued focus on vaccines and on COVID testing, masking and symptom monitoring to keep each other and ourselves safe when we return to school. A flow chart released by ODH includes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated guidelines to follow exposure to someone with COVID-19. These guidelines reduce by half the number of days needed for isolation after exposure to the coronavirus.

Over the last week, we have been reviewing the latest data with medical and public health experts. It is important to remember that both the COVID virus and our understanding of it continue to evolve. As we have done from the start of the global pandemic in March 2020, our district will continue to adjust its policies and protocols as our understanding evolves.

Please know we are committed to giving our students as normal a year as possible. Our students need and deserve it. We will follow the guidance of research scientists and the CDC on the best ways to manage COVID in our district. We are striving to minimize large outbreaks and the worst impacts of the virus on our community, especially serious illness and hospitalizations.

Prior to the holiday break, our strict adherence to public health protocols proved successful in keeping the infection rate among APS students and faculty low, even as other districts experienced challenges in staffing and faced the need to return to remote learning. What we have learned throughout the pandemic is not only that our APS school community is resilient but also that these unprecedented challenges have brought out the best in us.

We know that children learn best and feel more balanced when they are in school. We also know that the disruption and isolation students experienced for more than a year exacerbated the mental health issues of the most vulnerable among them.

For this reason, I am prouder than ever of the commitment of our caring APS staff. Time and time again, they rise above these challenges to ensure the children we serve have the best education and the brightest future possible.

I am also grateful to our caring and supportive APS families and staff who continue to collaborate with us on keeping schools open and infection rates low in our community. It is my hope that you had the restful and joyful holiday break you deserve.

Please join us in reminding our students that we believe in them and are here for them as, together, we embark on a safe and healthy 2022 as we return to class January 4.

Sincerely,

Christine Fowler Mack
Superintendent

NOTE: Health officials continue to recommend COVID-19 vaccinations, including boosters available now at most pharmacies, medical offices and local health departments. Visit gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov, or call 1.833.427.5634.
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