AAPS and Michigan Medicine vaccine partnership ‘game-changer’ in getting students back to class, officials say
ANN ARBOR, MI – A partnership between Ann Arbor Public Schools and Michigan Medicine to rapidly vaccinate teachers and staff will be factored into the district’s recommendation to return students to class, officials said.
AAPS Superintendent Jeanice Swift and the district school board announced the partnership with the health system on Tuesday, February 23, a day before the school board met to discuss plans to bring students back to in-person learning.
District officials noted that significant progress has been made in recent days in its efforts to conduct rapid tests for COVID-19 and ensure staff have access to vaccines, with “major events” taking place over the weekend.
The Washtenaw County Department of Health is working with Michigan Medicine and IHA to vaccinate about 1,200 elementary teachers on Saturday, February 27. in school buildings, school officials said.
“Since announcing in January that K-12 educators would be eligible for immunization, we have been disappointed that Washtenaw County has fallen behind other counties in achieving these critical goals,” indicates an AAPS press release. “This promising turn of events is the result of the advocacy work of many.”
The news will inform the recommendation the school board will consider at its meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 24, which is now scheduled to begin at noon, the statement said.
The developments are a “game changer” for a healthy and safe return to school in AAPS school buildings, school officials said.
The health department is providing the vaccine on its state allocation this week and is working directly with schools and districts in the county to connect their staff to the appropriate partner for immunization registration.
Michigan Medicine and IHA continue to vaccinate staff and have started vaccinating patients 65 years of age and older as vaccine supply permits. Their support will allow the Washtenaw County Health Department to vaccinate employees at the area’s pre-K-2 school next Saturday.
School employees 50 and older have been offered immunization appointments, but in the future, appointment requests are open to all eligible school employees at the using an invitation process.
“Limited vaccine supplies continue to hamper our local efforts to reach everyone currently eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination,” said Jimena Loveluck, health officer of the Washtenaw County Department of Health, in A press release. “This week, we are grateful to have enough doses available to team up with Michigan Medicine and IHA to deliver the vaccination to our elementary school educators as effectively as possible.”
Pressure continued to rely on the AAPS over the past few weeks to see if he would remain primarily in distance learning for the rest of the year, or if he would establish a target date for the return of students to school. class.
Last week, the Ann Arbor School Board voted to lead Swift present a plan to allow education to remain virtual for the remainder of the year 2020-2021, except serving those who have the greatest needs. The decision came nearly five-and-a-half hours after a meeting began on a motion between directors described as rushed, surprised and sweeping.
After the meeting, the Mayor of Ann Arbor, Christopher Taylor, and several members of the city council asked the district to confirm their previously established blended learning format and establish a target return date.
The board has since clarified in a message to families that it has not decided to continue with fully virtual education for the remainder of the year and that it has not yet voted to change or modify his approved transition. towards a hybrid learning option.
Instead, board members said their intention was to set a date when the most vulnerable students could safely return to school buildings, helping students who are struggling the most with the current virtual model, helping parents and guardians who have asked for help with their students’ learning. , help families plan for the rest of the school year and focus their efforts on an improved summer program and a strong and safe return to school in the fall.
The neighborhood in January aimed at the beginning of March return to classes in person. The students have been in distance learning since last March.
The district’s current plan proposes to bring students back in stages, the first including preschool, five-year-old and kindergarten students who have chosen the in-person blended learning model, as well as students with special needs. high-level specialized learning.
Also included are small groups of middle and high school students who need face-to-face lessons the most. Additional steps proposed to bring students down by grade level in one-week increments, with middle and high school students entering the hybrid format last.