MEMO to MASA and MAISA Members
Currently, there are very few active cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan. To keep the number of affected Michiganders low, and to keep our students and staff healthy and safe, MASA and MAISA are encouraging district leaders to follow the recommendations from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Disease Control.
The CDC recommends refraining from mixing populations. For schools, that means limiting outside visitors into school buildings, canceling or postponing sporting events, field trips, and/or assemblies. We strongly encourage district leaders to consider these steps in the interest of public health and slowing the spread of the virus.
Please continue to work with your local health agencies and your county emergency preparedness coordinator to determine whether school buildings should close, or students be dismissed. The decision to close schools is a local one and will depend on many factors such as where a school district is located and how impacted your community is by the virus. Some districts will close reactively, and some proactively, regardless, those decisions should be based on the virus’s presence in your community and in consultation with health experts. Long-term closures can be highly disruptive to a community and for children, but in some cases may be in the best interest of public health. Review your district’s pandemic preparedness plan and emergency operation plans, and work with your local school board to consider leave policy decisions based on the severity of a potential outbreak in your community.
Continue to encourage and actively practice good hygiene. We recommend you work with school nurses and educators to provide demonstrations to students and staff on proper handwashing techniques and how to cough and sneeze into the crook of their arm. Further, ensure that your buildings are cleaned more regularly, and frequently-touched surfaces are sanitized.
We are working with state officials to try and provide districts with options for distance learning, contingency plans for long-term closure, and the most up-to-date resources available. Know that these are uncertain times for many and as your state associations it is our mission to ensure that you’re making informed decisions that are in the best interests of your students, your faculty, your staff, and your community.
To summarize, in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 it is the recommendation of MASA and MAISA that districts proactively cancel all school-related events beyond the school day or school-sanctioned, student-only practices, and limit or ban visitors to school buildings.
Find additional recommendations and resources on the MASA COVID-19 Resource Page.