Ann Arbor Public Schools: Face masks optional for upcoming school year – WDIV ClickOnDetroit

ANN ARBOR – Ann Arbor Public Schools has made face masks optional for the upcoming school year.

In an email to the school community on Friday, Superintendent Jeanice Swift wrote that masking will be up to individuals and families, saying that AAPS buildings will remain “mask-friendly” environments.

“We understand that masking indoors is an important prevention strategy that many will continue to practice,” wrote Swift.

AAPS Fall 2022 guidance on masking:

  • Masks are strongly recommended indoors when CDC Community Level is ‘HIGH’ – Red
  • Masks are encouraged indoors when CDC Community Level is ‘MEDIUM’ – Yellow
  • Masks are welcomed indoors when CDC Community Level is ‘LOW’ – Green

Swift said the current CDC Community Level will be communicated with AAPS students, staff and families each week. She also said signs confirming a given week’s level will be posted around school buildings.

“We will use a responsive approach this fall, and as circumstances change, such as an increase in cases or outbreaks, classrooms, groups or schools may be required to mask for a period of time, such as two weeks, or until case counts diminish,” wrote Swift.

She noted that, in alignment with Washtenaw County Health Department and federal guidance, certain situations require masking, including during clusters or outbreaks, in the school nurse’s office or during health screenings, in preschool classrooms and when returning from isolation.

“Masking may also be required in other situations, such as when safe school operations are at risk due to staff cases,” Swift wrote.

A more detailed guidance and case-reporting tool for parents and guardians will be posted by Aug. 26 to the district COVID protocols page.

Staff, parents and students are required to report a positive case. Positive individuals are required to isolate for at least five days at home and “may return on days 6-10 if: fever-free for 24 hours; symptoms have significantly improved; and able to wear a tight-fitting mask indoors through the 10-day period,” wrote Swift.

Those who wish to return on day six are strongly encouraged to take a home test the day before and continue isolation until testing negative.

If a classroom or sports team reaches a 10% case count, they will be provided with further instructions.

AAPS will no longer send out notifications about individual cases.

Additionally, students and staff who are identified as close contacts during outbreaks or clusters will no longer be required to quarantine. Individuals who experience an exposure must wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days and are encouraged to test on day 5 post-exposure or when symptoms occur, according to AAPS.

Swift shared that the district may need to adjust its guidance in response to increased outbreaks.

An information session on AAPS’ Fall COVID and Health Guidance will be held virtually on Tuesday at 6 p.m. AAPS community members will receive a link to the event, and a recording will be posted on following the session.

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