Ann Arbor Public Schools will be closed on Monday and Tuesday due to rising COVID-19 cases among students and staff. The closure comes right before AAPS’s Thanksgiving break, which is scheduled to begin Wednesday, Nov. 24.
In an email to the AAPS community, district Superintendent Jeanice Swift explained that shutting schools down early will help slow down the spread of COVID-19 in the district.
“As a COVID mitigation step to interrupt transmission and allow sick individuals to recuperate, we will amend the AAPS school schedule for next week, providing Monday and Tuesday, November 22nd and 23rd, as an extension to the traditional Thanksgiving school break,” Swift wrote in the email.
This is not the first time AAPS has closed its schools this academic year. The district canceled school on Nov. 1 to provide a rest period for the AAPS community.
The rising COVID-19 cases throughout AAPS mirrors the recent rise in cases across the state of Michigan. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Michigan has reported 53,574 cases in the last seven days, which leads the nation by a wide margin.
The University of Michigan has also experienced a higher number of reported cases recently compared to the rest of the fall semester, and the CDC is currently on the University’s campus to monitor its high rate of influenza spread.
In her email, Swift explained that the closure is allowed within the state’s parameters for school closings.
“Closing the district for these two days will place the AAPS at three district closure days out of the 58 days of school over the 12 weeks of this fall,” Swift wrote. “Michigan school districts are allowed six days of school closures each year. We will continue to monitor this situation very closely every day.”
According to Swift, recent staffing complications within the district are another reason for the closure. Swift noted that schools in the district have been struggling to find substitute teachers, even after raising pay.
Swift also expressed concern about bus drivers doubling up routes if the district cannot find adequate numbers of bus drivers. She also mentioned staffing concerns in regards to AAPS food service.
Swift expressed condolences to families for any inconveniences or concerns the closure may cause, especially ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.
“We take these school closure decisions very seriously,” Swift wrote. “I understand that this week-before notice will pose challenges for some of our families, and I sincerely apologize for this situation.”
Daily Staff Reporter Christian Juliano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.