Dear Parents, Guardians, and Staff,
As I shared yesterday, our primary focus is on keeping staff and students safe and healthy. It is peak flu season in Muskegon County and our most recent attendance rate is still positive. Our daily cleaning routines and hygiene practices have been working. At this moment there are no cases of Coronavirus in Muskegon County.
Having said that, yesterday, the Governor issued her "interim recommendations for COVID-19 Community Mitigation Strategies" for businesses, workplaces, schools, community organizations, health care institutions, and individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and health profiles. Reeths-Puffer agrees that everyone has some measure of responsibility to help limit the spread of this disease.
I am advising Reeths-Puffer staff to follow the Governor's recommendations in the following ways:
1. Educate students about preventative hygiene practices (e.g. wash your hands, sneeze in your elbow, don't shake hands, etc.)
2. Encourage your peer staff members and students to stay home when sick.
3. Encourage students to report influenza-like symptoms to the office
4. Separate sick students and staff from others until they can go home
As a district, Reeths-Puffer will do the following:
1. We will monitor and report unusual absenteeism to public health officials.
2. We will regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
3. We will close school only upon the direction of Public Health - Muskegon County. Until then, Reeths-Puffer will remain open.
4. We will not have building-wide assemblies.
The Governor advised on some practices that are not possible without closing school:
1. We do not have the staffing to serve breakfast and lunch one classroom at a time. We will continue serving breakfast "as is" and lunch in the cafeteria with appropriate cleaning practices and safe food preparation protocols.
If parents feel that the above practices are unsafe or put their children at risk, they may keep them home.
We understand that the Michigan High School Athletics Association has communicated that all MHSAA postseason tournament events will be played as scheduled (link). However, they will limit or prohibit fan attendance. Major universities in Michigan have instituted online learning exclusively for all classes (link).
Again, Reeths-Puffer Schools remains open. However, we are exploring contingency plans in cooperation with Public Health - Muskegon County and other local schools should we be directed to close our schools.
Finally, I do my best to respond to parent concerns/inquiries in a timely manner. Because of the volume of individual questions I am getting regarding individual events, I will be coordinating a "FAQ" regarding events, and posting to that as regularly as possible. There are some events that an urgent answer is needed. For example, Band-O-Rama, which was scheduled for Sunday and regularly has in excess of 500 attendees, will need to be cancelled/postponed. There are other time sensitive decisions to be made. There are other decisions that are just too early to tell. For example, people, understandably, are asking about a trip to Washington DC in May, or graduation in June.... it is simply too early to tell what impact there might be. In essence, I'm asking for your patience as we navigate this unprecedented time.
Plans may change at any hour. I'll provide more updates as I can.