Dear GRPS Families and Staff,
I am writing to provide an update regarding our COVID-19 mitigation efforts, the latest information from the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) regarding their PK-6 mask mandate, and the federal authorization of the COVID-19 vaccine for students age 5-11.
GRPS COVID-19 Data: The following are some data points as of November 10, 2021. We continue to update our COVID-19 Data Dashboard weekly at www.grps.org/coronavirus.
- Total number of students who tested positive: 336
- Total number of staff who tested positive: 98
- Total number of school associated cases (transmission in school setting): 44
- Total number of outbreaks: 6
- School closings: 2
- County positivity rate: 19% (last 7 days) highest risk level, increasing from last week
- County incidence rate (cases/100K): 332 (last 7 days) highest risk level, increasing from last week
- GRPS zip code vaccination rates: Ages 12-17 43% / Ages 16+ 71%, increasing from last week
We continue to implement mitigation strategies that include encouraging vaccines for all eligible staff and students, universal masking for all staff and students regardless of vaccination status, quarantining of close contacts as directed by KCHD, and regular hand washing.
Kent County Health Department Mask Mandate / New GRPS Survey on Masking: As you may have read, the KCHD announced the mask mandate for grades PK-6 will expire on January 2, 2022. The KCHD is still strongly recommending masks for students and staff. Throughout the pandemic, GRPS has used data and evidence to inform decision making for our mitigation plan.
We want to hear your opinion on whether GRPS should continue with a mask mandate or make masks strongly recommended, but not required. Please take a few minutes to complete this survey: grps.org/maskmandate. We will continue to monitor the data and guidance from federal, state, and county health officials to inform our decision. My goal is to announce our decision on masking before the winter break.
Vaccines Approved for Students Ages 5 and Up / New GRPS Vaccine Clinics: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently granted Emergency Use Authorization to the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 years old. Evidence has demonstrated that communities with higher vaccination rates have lower transmission rates of COVID-19.
GRPS has partnered with Cherry Health to hold COVID-19 vaccine clinics in all our elementary and PK-8 school buildings starting next week. Please watch for more details on when your child’s school will be holding their vaccine clinic. Parents may also schedule a vaccine for their child by visiting www.vaccinatewestmi.com, contacting your healthcare provider, or visiting a participating pharmacy.
Thank you again for your continued patience, understanding, and support.
Leadriane Roby, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
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