November 18, 2020
On Sunday the Governor shared new orders from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services that once again scale back several activities for both business and schools. Please click on the link to view the infographic that was created by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services which provides a visual representation of the new changes.
Since our District has been working remotely and online since the start of school, many of the orders that went into effect starting at midnight on Wednesday, November 18th will not impact our delivery of instruction. In addition, our District took proactive steps several weeks ago to aid in the efforts to reduce the amount of “close contacts” in our schools and slow the community spread of COVID-19.
The District will continue to conduct all of our learning remotely at all grade levels. The suspension of in-person Learning Labs will also continue until a time when it is safe for students and staff to return to school. We have also reduced the number of staff members working in our buildings by encouraging working from home when possible and staggering shifts to allow our schools to continue to provide in-person services to parents by appointment. We look forward to returning to in-person instruction but will continue to take all precautions and measures that will help slow the spread of this virus.
Included in the new order is the cancellation of all athletics for school districts. This will affect the student athletes here in Dearborn. Effective Monday, November 16th our Athletic Directors and coaches sent word to our student athletes and parents that all middle and high school athletics were suspended until at least December 8, but perhaps longer. All extra-curricular activity is a valued part of an overall educational experience, and we are truly disappointed by this temporary suspension of our athletic programs. However, these steps are needed to help in the efforts to slow the community spread of COVID-19.
Since early August, several students and staff have either directly become infected with COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has. It is important to point out that during this time our schools have implemented safety protocols that have been working. There are only two cases where an infection may have occurred in one of our schools. This means that all other cases of COVID-19 that have appeared in our schools have come from outside the school environment.
I want to commend our principals, teachers, coaches, and students who have been doing an outstanding job of following all of the protocols and mitigation practices that we have put into place. I also want to recognize all other staff members, many who have been working in our buildings since March, and have followed all practices to keep our buildings clean and safe. Information presented on Sunday during the Governor’s press conference indicated that there is a high number of outbreaks taking place in schools. This information is most likely based on statewide data but doesn’t reflect the conditions here in our schools.
Since March we have been taking steps to try and slow the spread of COVID-19. I know this way of life is getting to be very tiring and it is not the way that we want to continue with our livelihood. However, I am confident that this is temporary. It may not seem like it right now but it is. The battle ground in our war with COVID-19 has expanded from the grocery store to our kitchen, the movie theater to our living room, the bus to our car. In other words, the community spread is occurring in our homes and in small social gatherings. The practices that we know are working to keep us safe in public must now become part of our routine when spending time with friends and family.
We are all looking forward to the upcoming holiday season and this year will look and feel a bit different than those in the past. However, the true meaning of the holidays remains the same. Coming together with friends and family (even if it is virtual or another form), the joy of giving, reaching out to those in need, and renewing our belief in the spirit of kindness for all. These fundamental concepts are at the core of what the holidays are truly about. Perhaps this holiday spirit, the spirit of giving, of being thankful, of sharing gifts with those we love will be the spirit that gets us through this crisis and provides us with the hope for great days ahead.
Please stay safe and wear your mask.
Glenn M. Maleyko, Ph.D.