Dear Clarkston Community Schools Families,
I hope that you had time to enjoy the holiday break and you are settling in nicely to the new year.
As we get back into our routines, I want to highlight some important safety and COVID-19 updates and reminders.
First and foremost, I wanted to inform you of a significant calendar change for all our students and staff district-wide.
STUDENTS WILL NOT REPORT TO SCHOOL ON FEBRUARY 23.
We had initially planned for all staff to participate in a full day of hands-on ALICE drills on January 27.
However, we have decided to change that date to February 23, allowing us to attach the day to an already scheduled break and give families more time to secure childcare if necessary.
On February 23, all staff will participate in a full day of professional development. The day will be a balanced focus on physical and psychological safety and well-being. The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office will review ALICE protocols and run a live simulation. We have also invited trauma expert Dr. Jim Henry to spend the day with our staff to help us model a trauma-informed approach for our students while ensuring that everyone feels supported throughout the day.
Other Important Safety Updates:
— Over the break, our staff installed NIGHTLOCK on our primary classroom doors, following the fire code. We are working now with building administrators to confirm additional locations that need a device.
— To strengthen and streamline communication district-wide, we have purchased enhanced two-way radios and are testing our emergency communication systems, as well as retraining staff.
— At the Board Meeting on Monday night, we will bring a recommendation to partner with Secure Education Consultants to review our policies and procedures as well as physical structures across the district. They will inspect all school buildings and the Administration and Transportation buildings. If approved, this work will occur from January 24 through February 1.
— We have also locked in dates, February 1 through 16, with St. Joseph Mercy Health for all staff to participate in Stop the Bleed training.
— At the February 14 Board of Education meeting, our administrative team will present a full report. Topics covered include the security and facilities review, staff training, our Threat and Risk Assessment Procedures Guide, and the many steps we are taking to support the well-being of our students and staff.
— We will continue to provide updates as we move through this process, including details on student safety training. I will be sure to share information as it becomes available.
Now I’m shifting gears from safety to health as there are important updates and reminders. With the new Omicron variant, we are seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases nationwide, and that trend is reflected here in Clarkston. I continue to work closely with the Oakland County Health Division and state-wide public health experts to inform our decisions. As I’ve said before, it is my priority to keep our students in school, and you can help make this possible.
Please be sure to review the following COVID reminders:
— The CDC, MDHHS, and the OCHD all strongly recommend all eligible individuals get vaccinated. Additionally, those that are eligible should receive a booster.
— The OCHD strongly recommends symptomatic individuals test for COVID-19.
— If your child is displaying symptoms of COVID-19, please keep them home.
— The CDC has changed the duration for isolation and quarantine to five days. We are awaiting updated guidance from OCHD and MDHHS.
— Following the Oakland County Health Division (OCHD) Emergency Order 2021-01, masks must be worn by students and staff at all times in school and on the bus regardless of vaccination status, except when eating.
— It is also strongly recommended that spectators wear masks at athletic and other after-school activities.
I know that 2022 will be a great year regardless of the challenges we face. Over the past couple of years, we have learned that we are a strong community that continues to do what it takes to ensure the safety, health, and well-being of our students and staff. I appreciate your understanding and partnership.
If you have any questions, please reach out to your building administrator or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Shawn Ryan, Superintendent
Clarkston Community Schools