Welcome Back to the 2021-2022 School Year!
GRPS Universal Indoor Mask Update
On August 16, 2021, we announced that GRPS is requiring masks to be worn by all PK-12 grade students, staff, and visitors indoors in all district schools and buildings, regardless of vaccination status. This included a commitment to revisit this decision on or before September 20, 2021.
In accordance and alignment with the Public Health Order issued by the Kent County Health Department on Friday, August 13, the GRPS universal indoor mask requirement will now remain in effect until 60 days past the date a COVID 19 vaccine is authorized or approved by the FDA and available to persons in prekindergarten through grade six, or community transmission for Kent County is categorized as “Low” by the CDC for at least seven consecutive days, or until further notice from the Administrative Health Officer.
The Public Health Order, along with the COVID-19 Parent Handbook and other important information on COVID-19, are available on our website at www.grps.org/coronavirus.
As we prepare our K-12 children for another school year, we need to be constantly thinking about their safety. This applies to their safety to and from school and while on school grounds.
Drivers must remain watchful. Children dart unexpectedly into traffic, often from between parked cars. Young pedestrians face a variety of dangers while walking to and from school.
Basic safety tips for your child to follow:
- Mind all traffic signals and the crossing guard.
- Walk your bike through intersections.
- Walk with a buddy.
- Wear reflective material. It makes you more visible to street traffic.
Safety tips for entering and exiting the school bus:
- Have a safe place to wait for your bus, away from traffic and the street.
- Stay away from the bus until it comes to a complete stop.
- When being dropped off, exit the bus and walk ten steps away from the bus. Also, remember that the bus driver can see you best when you are away from the bus.
- Use the handrail to enter and exit the bus.
- Be aware of street traffic. Drivers are required to follow the rules of the road concerning school buses, but not all do. Protect yourself and watch out.
Safe bicycling tips:
- Always wear a helmet.
- Always ride on the right side of the road. Never ride against traffic.
- Ride single file. When passing other bikers or pedestrians, let them know your position by shouting out something like, “On your left!”
- Always check behind you before changing lanes.
- Watch out for dangerous things in the roadway. Litter, potholes, gravel and storm drains all can cause you to lose control.
- Stop at all stop signs and at all traffic lights. Be extra careful at crossroads.
- Always signal before making a left or right turn.
- Maintain control of your bike. Don’t swerve or make sudden turns.
- Use caution when riding next to parked cars to avoid injury from someone suddenly opening a car door in front of you.
- Listen for cars approaching from the side or behind you.
- Don’t follow a car too closely. You may be in the blind spot, where the driver cannot see you, and you may be unable to stop if the car comes to a sudden halt.
- Know your road signs and obey them.
- Always be prepared to stop.
- Wear brightly colored clothing.
- Don’t wear headphones, loose clothing or inappropriate shoes.
These are only a few safety tips we want parents to remind their children of as they began to return to school. If we work together, we can continue to keep our children safe not only in school, but to and from school, as well.
Full Back to School Safety Tips Press Conference
Based on guidance and direction from the Kent County Health Department, we are planning for all schools to be 100% in-person, five days a week, for the 2021-2022 school year. As with everything related to COVID-19, these plans are subject to change.
We are also planning to offer limited 100% virtual school options for students with extenuating circumstances due to documented medical conditions. If you wish to request a 100% virtual option for the 2021-2022 school year, please complete the following survey: http://www.grps.org/survey.
If you have not already done so, please complete the online GRPS Enrollment Form at http://enroll.GRPS.org.
Lastly, please mark your calendar with the important dates for the 2021-2022 school year. Click here to view the 2021-2022 calendar highlights. If you have any questions or want more information, please contact your student’s school directly.
Thank you again for your patience, understanding, and support as we navigated this unprecedented school year during a global pandemic.
Please assist us in developing a strategic plan that will guide Grand Rapids Public Schools through the next five years. The success of our school district affects everyone in our community, and we want to be sure all of our residents have the opportunity to provide input to this process. Please take 10 minutes to respond to this survey about our current strengths or assets, and our opportunities for improvement. The survey is managed by a third-party strategy consultant. All responses will go directly to them and are anonymous. The results of the survey will be available on the GRPS website later this summer. You can access the survey at the following link using any computer, tablet or mobile phone. The survey will be open until June 25th. Thank you for taking the time to shape our future.
Gov. Whitmer Announces Updates to Return-to-Work Safety Guidelines and Releases New Epidemic Order Expanding Capacity Limits
LANSING, Mich. – Governor Gretchen Whitmer today announced updates to the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (MIOSHA) COVID-19 emergency rules as many employers return to in-person work. The governor also announced an updated Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) COVID-19 Gatherings and Face Masks epidemic order, eliminating outdoor capacity limits and increasing indoor social gatherings to 50% capacity, which is set to take effect on June 1.
“As we work to put Michigan back to work, we are moving quickly to invest in our families, small businesses, and communities to help them succeed,” Governor Whitmer said. “The reason we can take these steps is thanks to every Michigander who has stepped up and taken action to keep themselves, their families, and their communities safe. Together, we are eliminating this once-in-a-century virus, and now we are poised to jumpstart our economy and power it to new highs.”
As part of a bipartisan agreement announced by Gov. Whitmer, MIOSHA filed updated COVID-19 emergency rules in accordance with the MI Vacc to Normal plan and recent health guidelines and orders. Now that the state has reached the 55% vaccination threshold, MIOSHA has removed the requirement that employers must create a “policy prohibiting in-person work for employees to the extent that their work activities can feasibly be completed remotely.” The agency has also rescinded the draft permanent COVID-19 rules, and the public hearing scheduled for Wednesday, May 26 is canceled.
“As we work with the administration to get back to normal, protecting Michigan workers on the job remains the top priority for MIOSHA,” said Michigan Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity Acting Director Susan Corbin. “These updated emergency rules will give workers and businesses the clarity and confidence they need to bring our economy back to full-strength.”
MIOSHA has updated other aspects of the emergency rules to reflect the recent order from MDHHS and guidance from the CDC. Those changes include:
- Employers may allow fully vaccinated employees to not wear face coverings and social distance provided they have a policy deemed effective to ensure non-vaccinated individuals continue to follow these requirements.
- The rules have been reformed focusing on performance, eliminating industry-specific requirements. Definitions have been updated to more clearly reflect changes in close contact and quarantining requirements for fully vaccinated employees.
- Cleaning requirements have been updated to reflect changes in CDC recommendations.
- Employers should continue to have and implement a written COVID-19 preparedness and response plan in accordance with the updated rules.
MIOSHA filed the updated emergency rules on Friday, May 21 with the Michigan Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules and anticipates these changes will take effect Monday, May 24. While the updated emergency rules will expire on Thursday, October 14, as this announcement demonstrates, MIOSHA has the flexibility it needs to ensure consistency with public health guidelines and can rescind all our parts of the rules.
Based on the science and data at the time the process of creating permanent rules began, the agency utilized the process provided by law to ensure it could continue to keep employees safe if the pandemic remained when the emergency rules expired. With the recent updates from CDC and the MDHHS epidemic orders, MIOSHA is confident that these rules are not necessary.
Visit Michigan.gov/COVIDWorkplaceSafety for additional information.
We are pleased to provide you with our GRPS COVID-19 Handbook. This handbook is intended as a quick reference guide for all GRPS parents and guardians as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a living document that will be updated as changes or new information emerges.