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2020 - 2021 LCS District Updates
This page was created with the intent of keeping all Lawton Community Schools members (students, parents, family members, teachers, administration, etc.) updated with latest information. Posts on this page shall be updated as soon as we are made aware of any situations pertaining to our community members or information that has been shared with us from the county or state health department.
Dear Blue Devils,
Effective Monday, April 19, 2021, Lawton High School and the Lawton Accelerated Academic Center will begin a 2-week virtual learning period for all students. Details and expectations for students will be shared in a separate message from LHS Principal Tammy Wilson and LAAC Principal Tamara Webster. Lawton Elementary and Lawton Middle School will continue to have in-person learning during this time and until further notice.
During the high school virtual learning period, the LAAC classroom and HS library will be open as an available workspace for those students who do not have home internet access or who do not feel that they can work productively at home. Additionally, those students in need of extra support (those with IEP’s) will have opportunities for in-person instruction as well.
We also plan to allow our spring extracurricular activities to continue participating. All of our spring athletes (age 13-19) are being COVID tested weekly. Those who test positive are immediately sent home. We will also be implementing weekly testing of our drama club students as well.
In the last week, we’ve learned of (5) HS students who have tested positive for COVID. This has led to the close contact quarantine of over 20 students. Many of these students are involved in spring activities. Activities that were lost to our kids for all of spring 2020. Among our greatest concerns is the rapid rise in positive cases among HS-aged students and the resulting impact on anyone considered a close contact. The pause in in-person learning gives us a chance to get a handle on that rise in cases by limiting interactions among students in classrooms. The number of students who have chosen to learn in-person makes it nearly impossible to maintain 6 feet of distance between them. Because of this, any student who sits in a classroom for 15 minutes or more and within 6 feet of a positive individual, faces a 14 day quarantine period.
Students who might test positive or be exposed in the next two weeks risk losing out on important events including the drama club’s performance, Advanced Placement testing, and athletic events. These are very important events and activities for many of our students and our goal is to maintain these opportunities for as many students as possible. All this being said, students you have to do your part. This includes showing up for all classes on-time every day. It also includes being safe when outside of school by limiting your social interactions. The effects of COVID appear to be less serious for young people, however, there are still risks for those who contract the virus.
Some may question why we’ve chosen to go virtual at the high school only. This is largely because HS students are more independent and able to succeed in a virtual environment. Our quarantine numbers are also of concern at the middle school level but we have learned that virtual instruction at the middle school level presents more challenges and that many students of this age are not able to remain home alone if parents are working. If we continue to see a rise in cases at the middle school level, we may have to reconsider this decision.
During this HS virtual learning period, all bus runs (including Tech Center) will operate as planned unless we face an unexpected driver shortage. Details forthcoming regarding school meal availability for HS students.
I realize that this decision will not be received positively by all. Please know that a great deal of thought went into it. We absolutely want our kids in school. However, we also want them healthy and able to enjoy the activities that so many lost last year.
LCS Students and Parents,
As most of you know, mandatory weekly testing of Middle School and High School student-athletes began this week. At Lawton High School, we had (2) students test positive on Tuesday 4/13. One of them may have had mild symptoms, the other did not. Students who do test positive using the rapid Binax test are encouraged to follow up with their health provider with a PCR test. If by chance the PCR test comes back negative, the student and all close contacts will be immediately allowed to return to school and activities.
Whenever we learn of a positive case of COVID, we immediately begin contact tracing. This process includes identifying anyone who may have been within six feet of the positive individual for a combined 15 minutes. It’s not a perfect science but we do our best. These individuals are considered close contacts and required to quarantine for (10) days. (21) LHS students were quarantined as the result of the (2) positive tests.
Many have inquired about whether or not a negative test among the close contacts can allow the student to return to school. It can not. Neither the State of Michigan nor the Van Buren/Cass Health Department has authorized this. The position of these authorities is that close contacts must quarantine for 10 days with two exceptions:
The individual has tested positive for COVID in the past 3 months.
The individual has received all required doses of the COVID vaccine and at least 2 weeks have passed.
On Wednesday, April 14, testing of all Middle School student-athletes will begin. This will be handled the same way. Those testing positive are immediately sent home and contact tracing begins. Given the rapid rise in cases among those ages (10-19), approximately 25% of all new cases, it is certainly possible if not probable that we will continue to see COVID-19 impact our student’s daily lives. I know I sound like a broken record when I plead with people to follow protocols but short of closing our schools, promoting safe behaviors is all we have. Students with any symptoms must stay home!
We are beginning to see more COVID vaccination opportunities available to 16 and 17-year-olds. I strongly urge parents of eligible students to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. It could mean the difference between participating in an important year-end event or being forced to miss out.
- Bronson Healthcare will continue to register people 16+ through its MyChart online system at mychart.bronsonhealth.com. Those unable to use MyChart can call Bronson’s COVID-19 Vaccine Call Center at (269) 220-3970. Once on the registry, Bronson will notify individuals when it is their turn to schedule a vaccine appointment based on prioritization criteria. For details visit bronsonhealth.com/covid19vaccine.
- Select local pharmacies also have opportunities to schedule a vaccine appointment with them. People are encouraged to check with their local pharmacies and join their waitlist. You can find more information at www.vaccinefinder.org.
Please reach out to me or your building principal with any questions or concerns you have.