“As we transition back to five days a week, safety for our students and staff remains our top priority. We have done a terrific job with our safety and mitigation protocols and that will not change,” says Jeff Haase, Superintendent. “We will continue to monitor infection rates in our area and work with the Allegan County Health Department on a consistent basis during this time.”
Since the beginning of the school year, Otsego Public Schools has followed a hybrid schedule where students attend school in person two days a week, and learn remotely from home three days. OPS also offered families a full virtual option with a county-wide partnership with Virtual Academy of Allegan County (VAAC) for their instruction.
The decision to return to five days a week of in-person instruction was done with input from multiple stakeholders including staff, parents, local school district and the Allegan County health Department in conjunction with new guidelines from the State of Michigan on Operating Schools Safety that were released in December.
“We are truly excited to welcome back our students to five days a week as we've been looking forward to this day since the pandemic started,” Haase adds.
As required by Michigan Department of Education, local school boards must adopt an Extended COVID-19 Learning (ECOL) plan to ensure school districts are providing the appropriate instructional model based on the local COVID-19 data with alignment to their local health department recommendations. Otsego Public School Board approved plans for the remainder of the school year with the option to modify the plan each month.
The revised Otsego Public Schools instruction plan will begin the week of March 15th. All students, grades Young Fives - 12th grade will return to in-person instruction five days a week. The district will follow the 2020-2021 calendar that included Delayed Starts on Wednesdays and is posted on our website. Students in the VAAC program still have the option to remain virtual for the remainder of the school year. Students wishing to enroll into the VAAC program must do so by March 5, 2021.
The Allegan County Health Department has revised its school district guidance documents. Risk categories are no longer assigned to schools and COVID-19 data will be shared with Otsego Public Schools on a bi-weekly basis. We will continue to monitor our COVID-19 data and when the Allegan County Health Department determines there is an ongoing spread within a school building, a transition to remote learning will be implemented for the classroom, building, and/or the district.
The following safety protocols will remain in place:
- Face coverings will be required at all times
- Hand hygiene will be communicated and encouraged on a regular basis
- Social distancing will be in place but at a reduced distance
- Our building and classroom cleaning practices will not change
- Face coverings will be required on buses
We will continue to provide additional details and updates to our staff, families, and students through the Superintendent Weekly Updates on Thursday afternoons. Additional information will be shared through building newsletters, and posted on the district website.