April 11, 2021

Important Newsletter From Dr. Bertolini

Please read this letter from Dr. Bertolini in regard to pausing of face to face learning per Governor Whitmer and the Barry/Eaton County Health Departments.

April 11, 2021
Dear families of Maple Valley,

There is an ongoing surge of cases of Covid happening. This has caused the Governor to recommend a two week pause in High School face to face instruction which has been supported by our Barry/Eaton Health Department. The health department has also  however supported local districts to make their best decision for their own communities. This is where we need your input and expectations in light of the following considerations. Once you have reviewed this document, please respond to the attached survey by tomorrow at noon so we can compile results for our board meeting scheduled for Monday evening at 7 pm. Please note, Monday April 12th will be a normal day as we gather this information and delineate further.

  • The Governor recommends a two week transition to virtual for the HS students in both learning and extracurricular activities.
  • The health department stated this, “Currently, Eaton County’s positivity rate is extraordinarily high, at 21.5%, and Barry County is also very high at 16.5%. This means that there are lots of COVID-19 cases that we are likely not aware of. We also believe that B.1.1.7 variant type (UK variant) is a growing share of cases in both counties. This variant has been present in our district for over two months, and it is more transmissible and serious for younger adults. It’s important to get tested for COVID-19 if you have developed symptoms of COVID-19, or if you think you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.” See our Webpage tab for Communication for the full statement.
  • Last week, we experienced the following surge: Fuller 5 quarantined, Maplewood 6 quarantined (5 quarantine, 1 positive Covid Case), Jr./Sr. HS  34 quarantined  (27 quarantine, 7 positive Covid Cases). All of these occurred outside of the district and to date we haven’t had a post break in district outbreak of virus transmission. Our high school rates are reflective of the health department statement about transmissibility among young adults becoming a new challenge. 
  • State testing which has not been waived by the Federal Department of Education will begin on Tuesday and must be in person. Postponement would result if we go to virtual instruction. Testing is optional for Virtual learners this year. 
  • Students have been improving academic achievement in general by being in person, we are concerned about learning impacts in a virtual platform.
  • Community spread, which has been exponential cannot be fully excluded from our school and the district could serve as an opportunity for ongoing spread should community spread continue.
  • We have been dedicated as a board and staff to do surgical quarantines and closures as long as we have the resources to maintain our face to face option. If we exceed our capacity to track and trace or extensive areas of our school district are impacted, wide scale switching to virtual learning only is very likely even if we opt to maintain face to face instruction options. 
  • If we do not have face to face options, the students will be more accessible to community spread which is out of district control entirely. If community spread continues, the ability to maintain a protective risk reduction strategy as a district will become very difficult. 
  • We are currently testing our athletes weekly per state mandate. No positive results from the first week of tests.
  • Contests will be dependent upon other district decisions about the recommended pause.
  • There is no “right”answer to any of this. Please respond to the survey below and we will do our best to make the least imperfect response possible based on community, staff and board input.

Because this is time critical, I will be sending out this communication at least twice to help reach as much of our community as possible to gain insights for our board meeting scheduled for Monday night at 7 pm (Virtual link available on our website). Once you respond to the survey, please do NOT respond again. 

Thank you for your help and investment in assisting us to quickly gather the thoughts and feelings of our community.

Community Survey Regarding Recommended Pause - 4.11.2021

I wish you continued wellness and safety as we fight through this together.

All my best to you and yours,
Dr. Katherine Bertolini
Superintendent