On Thursday, President Biden released several new national mitigation strategies in response to the new COVID-19 variants and in the context of entering the winter season. Included are some new or updated measures directly related to schools. On Friday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services released an updated version of their quarantine recommendations for schools that is somewhat streamlined and focuses on ways districts can reduce disruptions to in-person learning.
The White House announcement included the following items that Principals will want to be aware of:
- A plan to expand free at-home testing
- New Actions to Protect Our Kids and Keep Schools Open
- The administration issued a new Safe School Checklist to give schools assistance in their staff and student vaccination efforts. This includes information on hosting vaccine clinics and resources on how to talk to families about vaccinations.
- Extending the requirement to wear a mask on public transportation until March 18: the definition of public transportation includes school buses.
- The CDC will be releasing findings on quarantine and testing policies in schools sometime in the upcoming weeks. We are told that this will include findings on test to stay policies.
MDHHS issued streamlined quarantine recommendations for schools designed to "help prevent transmission of COVID-19 among the school-aged population while reducing disruptions to in-person learning." In addition to vaccination, which is approved for ages 5 and up, they continue to urge schools to use layered prevention measures, including masking. The infographic below summarizes the new guidance, the full text of which is available here.