Superintendent's Report 4/23/21
Dear Clarkston Community Schools Families,
If you have visited the district’s COVID-19 dashboard recently, you are aware of the challenges we continue to face regarding positive cases of the virus and associated quarantining. The contact tracing process is all-consuming for our front office staff and the district’s COVID Coordinator Heidi McClain, and I’d like to personally and publicly thank them for successfully managing this important work with building administrators. The Oakland County Health Division nurses who support this process and serve as a conduit between our schools and the health department consistently report that Clarkston’s recording protocols are among the most efficient, consistent, and reliable in the county.
I’d also like to thank the parents and guardians who have greatly assisted us by keeping sick or potentially exposed students and siblings home, completing the necessary steps for reporting absences and positive cases in a timely way, and complying with quarantine orders. That’s not to say there isn’t still a fair amount of confusion surrounding when to keep kids home, how long they should stay home, and when they can come back. I strongly recommend that every person reading this takes a moment to refresh their knowledge of the attendance/absence reporting procedures I shared a few weeks ago, as well as the quarantine and isolation guidance prescribed to us by the Oakland County Health Division. We will undoubtedly be managing this virus in our community for some time, so I thank you in advance for your continued cooperation and support to avoid unnecessary exposures.
Now, here is the good news.
- Student-to-student, staff-to-student, or student-to-staff transmission in school remains low.
- Virus rates in our immediate area and daily cases in Michigan are showing signs of a decline. Oakland County epidemiologists attribute this to having hit a saturation level of sorts, as well as increased immunity provided by the vaccination of Oakland County residents aged 16 and older (reserve a spot for yourself or your teen here).
- Our mandatory rapid-testing of roughly 650 Clarkston Community Schools athletes each week has identified only five confirmed positive results (a sixth positive rapid test was later confirmed by PCR testing to be a false positive). Since implementing weekly testing on April 11 as directed by the Michigan High School Athletics Association, Clarkston Athletics’ testing has returned fewer positive cases than most Oakland Athletic Association school districts.
Our operations, though significantly stressed, remain strong due to the amazing efforts of our staff. We intend to continue to offer face-to-face instruction, extracurricular activities, and athletics for the remainder of the school year. As the weather turns warmer, we can also take advantage of our beautiful campuses to get students outside for outdoor learning and socially distanced mask breaks. I enter the weekend with a renewed sense of optimism, and I hope that the information contained in this week’s update offers you some reassurance that good things are ahead for the students, staff, and families of Clarkston.
Dr. Shawn Ryan
Superintendent of Schools
About Clarkston Community Schools: Clarkston is a highly regarded school district with an enrollment of nearly 7,100 students. We have seven elementary schools (K-5), one middle school serving grades 6-7, one junior high for grades 8-9, and Clarkston High School, which serves students in grades 10-12. We also have a virtual academy, an Early Childhood Center serving children ages 3-5, and an alternative high school/community education facility. Clarkston Community Schools students are well-prepared for a future that excites them, and believe that they can achieve their dreams. The mission of Clarkston Community Schools is to create a learning environment where students, staff, and families are challenged, healthy, engaged, safe, and supported.
Read more Clarkston Community Schools News at www.clarkston.k12.mi.us/news.
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