Board of Education Statement on Return to Learning Plans

JULY 2021 - BOARD OF EDUCATION STATEMENT ON RETURN TO LEARNING PLANS

Throughout the course of the 2020-2021 school year, the Lakeshore Board of Education and the LPS Administrative Team have been managing the plans for learning.  Lakeshore is proud to have provided in-person instruction at the highest rate in the state.  Each month, the Board has approved the district’s learning plan.  This work has been fluid given the changing government mandates and conditions of the pandemic. 

At this time, we anticipate Superintendent Eding to present a draft Return to Learn Plan to the Board of Education sometime in the next few weeks and to publish a plan by the first of August.  A key feature of the draft Return to Learn Plan will be “flexible mitigation,” meaning that as transmission rates increase, additional mitigation measures may be implemented.  As transmission rates decline, so too would mitigation strategies.

Transmission rates in the county and within the Lakeshore community are currently low. If they remain low, then we have confidence the upcoming school year will look and feel very much like a normal school year. Below are some specific details of our draft plan that would be implemented if transmission rates remain low. 

  • Schools will open and operate on a full, daily schedule with in-person instruction.
  • Staff, students, volunteers, and visitors will NOT be required to wear face masks, regardless of one’s vaccination status. Face coverings will be optional. While no longer mandated, local and state public health officials recommend that unvaccinated individuals continue to wear a mask in indoor public settings. As a public school district, we must comply with local, state, and federal laws to ensure continued financial support. We also anticipate that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and/or the Berrien County Health Department will issue a face covering order if high levels of community transmission return, with which we would comply as a public school district.
  • Students and staff will NOT be tested for COVID, unless mandated by the MHSAA, MDHHS, or BCHD. COVID vaccination is NOT required for school enrollment or attendance. The district encourages staff and students to become vaccinated, yet the district is NOT requiring staff or students to be vaccinated.
  • While public health officials expect positive cases of COVID to be far more infrequent, people who do test positive will need to stay home until symptom free and any students or staff who are not vaccinated and are designated a close contact to a positive COVID-19 case will have to quarantine for 10 days.
  • Finally, we look forward to students engaging in athletic, enrichment, and extracurricular activities before and after the school day.

These expectations are based upon COVID cases remaining at low levels. Public health officials expect case levels to remain low due to the protective effects of vaccinations and antibodies derived from prior exposure. If transmission rates increase, then increased mitigation measures will be implemented in line with mandates by local, state, or federal agencies and in as inclusive and non-discriminatory manner as possible.

As one of the public school districts in Berrien County, we will continue to partner with our neighbors. There are synergies to our collaboration and, thus, we will continue to align our actions where and when appropriate. That said, we serve the students and parents of Lakeshore Public Schools and any actions we take will be those that most effectively support the safety and well-being of our students while complying with the rules, laws, or emergency orders established by local, state, or federal agencies.