Important Information Regarding COVID-19

Kentwood Public Schools has gathered information and resources that we would like to share with students, parents and families in our community.  Below you will find information from the Superintendent's Office, learning activities that you can consider and resources to help children and adults with trauma and stress as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For Chromebook support, please email [email protected]

Parent Communication - August 20, 2021 (English) PDF Document

August 20, 2021 

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Today, the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) issued a new Public Health Order mandating the use of face coverings in grades PK-6.  The Order from the KCHD affirms the decision by Kentwood Public Schools (KPS) to implement the district plan communicated on August 17, 2021.  KPS mandates the use of face coverings during the school day in grades PK-12 by staff, students, and visitors while indoors.  KPS will continue to carefully evaluate what is necessary to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff by monitoring conditions as they evolve.  

Additionally, the KCHD updated the quarantine policy for schools.  When contact tracing, the KCHD stipulates that if both students associated with a positive case (the positive student and the close contact) are wearing a face covering, the close contact will NOT be required to quarantine. Therefore, the KPS plan mandating universal face coverings eliminates the risk of your child being quarantined at school. 

Vaccination Opportunities

The COVID-19 vaccine prevents infection, slows community transmission, and reduces the risk of severe outcomes.  KPS has always partnered with the families of our community to protect our children.  If vaccinations go up, it is safer for children that cannot be vaccinated.  As a result, we are partnering with Metro Health to provide a vaccine clinic open to anyone in the community.  As of today, 42% of students ages 12-17 and 68% of community members ages 16+ in Kentwood are vaccinated.  

If you have not yet been vaccinated, join us at the district administration building on Friday, August 27th to get your vaccination and help protect our children.  Please click here for more information. For additional vaccination sites and information about the vaccine, visit vaccinatewestmi.com.

As we start school, the best place to get information is the district website at www.kentwoodps.org.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s principal with any questions or concerns.

Thank you for your support as we continue to prepare for a successful 2021-2022 school year.  I look forward to seeing our students back in school on Monday, August, 23! 

Sincerely, 
Kevin Polston
Superintendent

____________________________________________________________________

Parent Communication - August 17, 2021 (English) PDF Document

August 17, 2021 

Dear Parents and Guardians,

In my last communication, I expressed how excited we are to have students returning to the classroom this fall.  I also promised that when new information became available, we would provide you with updates. In keeping with our commitment to inform you of Kent County Health Department (KCHD) changes, we are providing you with our updated plan to give your child, and the whole district, a healthy and safe learning environment.  

Return to School Plans

In response to the contagious Delta variant, the KCHD and Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) have recently released a public order and strong recommendations regarding schools and COVID-19. The KCHD order details the requirements for isolation, quarantine, and reporting cases while the recommendation of both agencies sets expectations for the school and community to layer preventative strategies, including the recommendation for the required use of face coverings. 

Plan for in-person learning: 

  • Schools will be open for full-day, in-person instruction. For PK-5th grade students with extenuating medical conditions, a remote option is available on a case-by-case basis. Students in grades 6-12 may apply for enrollment in an independent online option, Kentwood International Virtual Academy. 
  • Following the KCHD and MDHHS recommendations, we are mandating the use of face coverings by staff, students, and visitors while indoors. This will help keep our students learning in-person. Exemptions for the face covering policy are available under the following limited circumstances if a parent/guardian:
  • Provides documentation that the student cannot wear a mask due to medical conditions.
  • Provides documentation that a face covering is detrimental to the wellbeing of their child.
  • Per CDC requirements, staff and students are required to wear face coverings on KPS transportation. 
  • Face coverings are strongly recommended for all individuals while indoors for athletics/extracurricular events outside of the school day.  Additional event specific mitigation measures may be necessary.
  • The COVID-19 vaccination is not required for school enrollment or attendance. 
  • Students/staff will not be tested for COVID-19 unless it is mandated by MHSAA, MDHHS, or the KCHD. 
  • The KCHD will continue to require a 10 day quarantine for unvaccinated close contacts of “household” and “outbreak” cases of COVID-19. Only the KCHD has the authority to quarantine students.
  • When contact tracing, the August 6 KCHD Order stipulates that if both students associated with a positive case (the positive student and the close contact) are wearing a face covering, only close contacts within three feet will be quarantined. Therefore, wearing a face covering reduces the risk of your child being quarantined at school. 
  • All KPS before and after school programming is subject to compliance with all KCHD public health orders.

Creating a Safe Environment

Together we can create a safe learning environment by layering prevention strategies. This requires participation from students, families, and KPS.  KPS has implemented a full range of health and safety strategies including:

  • Increased ventilation throughout KPS buildings.
  • Increased nursing staff.
  • Continuous deep cleaning in KPS buildings.
  • Regular communication with the local health department to monitor conditions.
  • Complying with guidelines and regulations such as mandating masks, encouraging regular hand washing, and maintaining distance in all our settings to the extent possible. 
  • More than 85% of our staff are vaccinated, which demonstrates our staff’s unwavering commitment to the safety of our students and families.

Please partner with us and take the following steps:

  • Each day, check your child’s health before coming to school.  If a child is sick, they should stay home for their own wellbeing and the health of others. 
  • We encourage the COVID-19 vaccine for students and community members ages 12 and over.

Vaccination Opportunities

The COVID-19 vaccine prevents infection, slows community transmission, and reduces the risk of severe outcomes.  KPS has always partnered with the families of our community to protect our children.  If vaccinations go up, it is safer for children that cannot be vaccinated.  As a result, we are partnering with Metro Health to provide a vaccine clinic open to anyone in the community.  As of today, 41% of students ages 12-17 and 67% of community members ages 16+ in Kentwood are vaccinated.  

If you have not yet been vaccinated, join us at the district administration building on Friday, August 27th to get your vaccination and help protect our children.  Please see our website for more information. For additional vaccination sites and information around the vaccine, visit https://vaccinatewestmi.com/.

Additional Information

As the CDC and Kent County Health Department (KCHD) make changes, we will provide regular updates.   For information on a range of topics, below are links that may be helpful.  Of course, the best site to visit for questions about Kentwood Public Schools is the district website at www.kentwoodps.org

Other websites that may be useful:  

Frequently Asked Questions 

Kent County Health Department Public Health Order regarding COVID-19 and the upcoming school year

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Recommendations for Safer School Operations

Community Resources 

Vaccine Safety and Effectiveness Information 

There will continue to be speculation and uncertainty around COVID-19 and its impact on education.  At KPS, we will continue to carefully evaluate what is necessary to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff.  As we start school, the best place to get information is the district website at www.kentwoodps.org

Thank you for your support as we continue to prepare for a successful 2021-2022 school year.  I look forward to seeing our students back in school on Monday, August, 23! 

Sincerely, 
Kevin Polston
Superintendent

________________________________________________________________________

Welcome Back 2021-2022 (English) PDF Document

Translations:
Arabic PDF DocumentBosnian PDF DocumentBurmese PDF DocumentFrench PDF DocumentKaren PDF DocumentKinyarwanda PDF DocumentNepali PDF DocumentSpanish PDF DocumentSwahili PDF DocumentVietnamese PDF Document

August 4, 2021    

Dear Parents/Guardians and Students:  

Welcome to the 2021-22 school year!  I hope this letter finds you enjoying the summer season and spending time with those close to you.  Personally, July has been filled with excitement and energy, as I began serving as the new Kentwood Public Schools superintendent.  It is an honor to be part of a new chapter in the Kentwood Public Schools story.  

Thank you for the warm welcome that I received throughout the community!  There is a lot of pride in Kentwood and in KPS.  I look forward to partnering with our community as we strive for excellence.  Together we can change the world through providing relevant and meaningful opportunities for our students.   

Speaking of a warm welcome, on July 13, 2021, students and staff from Kentwood Public Schools welcomed Governor Gretchen Whitmer to East Kentwood High School to sign historic legislation into law that provides additional resources for our students.  These funds will ensure that every child has access to support systems that continue to reinforce excellence and equity.  I again want to highlight that our vision statement, Excellence and Equity in Education, is not just a tagline at Kentwood Public Schools.  It is a standard we seek to achieve each day for every student. 

This year, we will stress the following themes:

  • Health and wellness:  As we continue to fight this global pandemic, we must keep in the forefront the health of our students, their families, and our staff.  No one fights a pandemic alone; we will win this fight standing together as a community.  Please see the attached Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.) for more information on our COVID safety plan.  The safety of our students, staff, and community remains our top priority.  
  • Committed to continuous learning and being data-driven:  We want students to be actively engaged in learning and achievement.  In addition, we must model this as an organization, through institutional learning and data gathering that ensures we are living out best practices in all that we do.  
  • Excellence and Equity:  Kentwood Public Schools is committed to excellence and equity in all that we do.  From our bond construction to how we use taxpayer dollars to how we treat every child in the district, excellence and equity are “lived values” at KPS.  

We are excited to welcome our students back to in-person learning!  This past year we were reminded about the importance of educating the whole child and the vital role relationships play in the lives of our children.  The in-person learning environment with the synergy that comes from students engaging with each other and their teachers and staff members provides the best option for most students to achieve the highest level of learning.  

You will receive a welcome from your child’s principal with key dates for the school year.  I look forward to seeing all of our students on the first day of school, Monday, August 23rd.  

As a reminder, if you have not already completed the online enrollment form for your student(s), please do so at https://www.kentwoodps.org/registration/olr/
As always, please don’t hesitate to contact your building administrator if you have school specific questions.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me and our central office team if you have district questions.  All of us are here to serve you and your family.  Thank you again for your support and assistance as we embark on an exciting year ahead!  

Educationally yours, 
Kevin Polston
Superintendent
 

Kent ISD COVID-19 Dashboard External Link

We will be updating this document on a regular basis as new information is available.

Kentwood Public Schools is providing the following answers to frequently asked questions.  We will be updating this document on a regular basis as new information is available.

What steps will KPS take in the interest of the safety of students and staff?

Because our goal is to keep children in school and with the prevalence of the Delta variant, we will be instituting a mask mandate to keep our students, staff, families and community safe.  

Following the KCHD and MDHHS recommendations, we are mandating the use of face coverings by staff, students, and visitors while indoors. The district will provide face coverings for those that need them. 

Although we believe wearing a face covering and being vaccinated are among the most effective measures to prevent the spread of disease, students may opt out of wearing a face covering if their parent/guardian:

  • Provides documentation that the student cannot wear a face covering due to medical conditions.
  • For 7th-12th grade students only* - Demonstrates to a district administrator that a face covering is detrimental to the wellbeing of their child and signs a waiver.

All students and staff will need to comply with the CDC face covering requirement while on KPS transportation per the CDC. 

Face coverings are strongly recommended for all individuals while indoors for athletics/extracurricular events outside of the school day.

*Per the KCHD order dated 8/20/21, students in Y5-6th grade are required to wear a mask.  The only exception the order allows are medical related exceptions.

What other steps will the district take to ensure a safe learning environment?

The district wants to create a safe and positive learning environment for every student.  With that in mind, the following actions are being taken:

  • Increased ventilation and air exchanges will occur in all schools
  • Sanitizing stations will continue to be in place in all buildings
  • Nightly cleaning utilizing EPA approved cleaning products to reduce the spread of COVID-19
  • Bottle filling stations in every building to ensure students stay hydrated as drinking fountains remain disabled
  • Parents may begin dropping off elementary students at 8:45 a.m.  School doors will open at 8:55 a.m. and students will report directly to their classrooms.
  • Breakfast for K-8 students will be in the classroom and lunch will be in the cafeteria
  • Additional school nursing services throughout the district

Why does the Delta variant pose such a risk?

Although the Delta variant is similar to the original COVID-19 virus, it is much easier to spread. Some experts believe it is as much as 60% more transmissible. The virus also has up to 1000 times the viral load of the original. Combine that with relaxed protective measures and the virus is spreading rapidly.

What measures are effective against the Delta variant?

The studies show that the vaccine is still effective in preventing serious illness. Other precautionary measures such as social distancing and mask wearing are effective and necessary to lessen transmissibility.

Will students be distanced in the classroom?

We will distance to the extent possible in all of our settings.

Will there be zones for cohorts of students on the elementary playground?

Playground zones for elementary students will no longer be enforced and students may move freely with other classrooms in their grade level. 

Will elementary students have specials classes?

Yes!  Elementary students will have specials classes (art, music, physical education) in-person in the classrooms of the special’s teachers.

Will there be gatherings at school for concerts, assemblies, or special events?

Events that bring the school community together are opportunities to build a positive culture.  Gatherings will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis for health and safety.

Why is it important for parents to do a health screener prior to sending my child to school?

Prevention is the first line of defense in the fight against illness, be it COVID or other illnesses.  When parents and guardians check their child’s health and wellbeing every day before coming to school, they can catch sickness before it spreads in a building or classroom.  Remember, if a child is sick, they should stay home.   

There is no form to fill out this year, but a big thank you and shout-out to the many parents who have prevented disease and illness by taking the time to engage that screener process every day this past year! 

Will volunteers be allowed in schools?

As much as we value our volunteers, we are not able to allow them to come into the buildings at this point.  

We are closely monitoring conditions and hope they improve so that the district can once again allow volunteers back in our buildings.  We value the strong partnership between our families and the community and hope to revise this policy when conditions dictate we can.

Will there be field trips?

Field trips are an important component of the educational experience for children.  The district will evaluate field trips on a case-by-case basis to determine if they are safe for students to attend.

Will my child be quarantined if they are a close contact?

In most cases no.  However current Health Department policy states that if there is an outbreak, defined by two or more linked cases of COVID-19 in the same setting, unvaccinated individuals may be quarantined.  The district will not quarantine any students and only the Kent County Health Department has the authority to quarantine individuals.

Will my child be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccine is not required in Michigan.  The district encourages parents of students ages 12 and up to discuss having their child receive the vaccine with your doctor or health care provider.  

We value the safety of our community and as a result, we are partnering with Metro Health, to provide a vaccine clinic open to anyone in the community at Glenwood Elementary School.  Please see www.kentwoodps.org for more information. 

Data and evidence have shown that communities with higher vaccination rates have lower community spread of COVID-19.  Vaccines for any eligible member of the community is a mitigation strategy to continue to offer in-person learning.

Will athletes be required to test for COVID-19 in order to play?

There are no current policies requiring students to test in order to play sports in Michigan.  The district will follow any public health orders from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) or policies from the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) if necessary to allow our students to participate in athletics.  In addition, the district eliminated athletic services fees (pay to participate) this year to encourage students to participate in athletics.

What other steps will the district take to ensure a safe learning environment?

The district wants to create a safe and positive learning environment for every student.  With that in mind, the following actions are being taken:

  • Increased ventilation and air exchanges will occur in all schools
  • Sanitizing stations will continue to be in place in all buildings
  • Nightly cleaning utilizing EPA approved cleaning products to reduce the spread of COVID-19
  • Bottle filling stations in every building to ensure students stay hydrated as drinking fountains remain disabled
  • Parents may begin dropping off elementary students at 8:45 a.m.  School doors will open at 8:55 a.m. and students will report directly to their classrooms.
  • Breakfast for K-8 students will be in the classroom and lunch will be in the cafeteria
  • Additional school nursing services throughout the district

The safety and wellbeing of our students, staff, and community will always be our top priority.  Please do not hesitate to contact your building principal with any questions or concerns.  All policies are subject to change if conditions change, new guidance is issued, and/or new public health orders are released. Go Falcons!

Please click on the following link to see a list of learning activities and resources that you can use with your children over the extended closure.

View the Google Document - Remote Learning Activities Google Doc