Dear Clarkston Community Schools Staff and Families,
We are just over a week away from the return of staff and students and the start of a new school year on Monday, August 30! We know our return to school does not come without challenges.
While there has been a push by some to force public health decisions onto school districts, these are issues that must be analyzed and decided upon by those with the expertise to do so. At this time, there are no COVID-19 restrictions or Epidemic Orders currently in place in Michigan. Last year, there were nearly 200 Executive Orders issued by Michigan’s Governor and nearly 50 Epidemic Orders issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Clarkston Community Schools complied with all of these and will continue to comply with any clear directives in the future.
I understand that, for some families, there is a fair amount of anxiety associated with returning to school without any mandated restrictions. I want to share some of the ways in which our district supports and accommodates precautionary measures in our schools:
- Mask use in buildings — highly recommended but not mandatory for all students and staff as communicated by the Oakland County Health Division.
- Mask use on buses — required for all passengers as directed by federal order for public transportation. The order requiring masks on buses has been extended through Jan. 18, 2022.
- Physically distanced spaces available at the discretion of the student to remove his or her mask and eat lunch or snack.
- Outdoor learning as permitted and available.
- Daily cleaning using products approved by the CDC to be effective against the COVID-19 virus.
- Frequent handwashing breaks and the use of hand sanitizer throughout the school day.
- High standards of ventilation in all buildings. District air handling systems are rated MERV-13 or better and the air in all rooms is exchanged eight times per hour. All buildings have air purifiers for sick rooms. On school buses, windows may be opened slightly when safe and practical.
- Public reporting of COVID positive cases by Clarkston Community Schools via classroom email and the district website dashboard.
- Contact tracing by the Oakland County Health Division — in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), personal information on COVID-positive individuals will not be provided.
COVID vaccination is also highly recommended for all eligible individuals. (Search vaccines.gov, text your zip code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find COVID-19 vaccine locations near you.)
We will continue to monitor all influencing factors (including community transmission, local vaccination coverage, and number of local outbreaks) in order to make sound decisions about our return to school. As I have previously stated, our plans may change.
If there are remaining questions and concerns, I encourage you to contact MDHHS at 517-284-1055 or the Oakland County Health Division. They are trained experts in the field of medicine and science with the responsibility of issuing clear directives in a determined public health crisis.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation and support as updates unfold. We look forward to welcoming back our students very soon!
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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