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CLK returns to classrooms Monday

CALUMET TOWNSHIP — The Calumet-Laurium-Keweenaw (CLK) Schools, as with other districts in Houghton County, will return to in-person instruction on Monday, Oct.12, Superintendent Christopher Davidson said in an email to CLK families.

“I want to thank you for the cooperation and support you have provided to your children and their teachers during this two week period,” he said. “We have higher expectations for distance learning this year, and I know this has placed additional responsibility and stress on our families. So, thank you again for supporting your children, their education, and CLK Schools during this time.”

Davidson said that with the students returning to classrooms Monday, there are changes in the law that must be followed. Although the Executive Orders governing school operations during the COVID crisis are no longer being enforced, he said, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has released two Emergency Orders that place operational requirements on Michigan schools. These Emergency Orders will be followed. Here are the requirements of the orders:

Effective Immediately:

• Schools must require individuals to wear face coverings. This now includes all students ages 5 and older, so grades JK-1 will start wearing face coverings during classroom time. “This will be a transition and I know the CLK staff will patiently work with these young students as they adjust to the new expectation,” Davidson said.

• Situations during which students can remove their masks as instructed by school staff include:

— eating outdoors and consistently maintaining 6 feet of separation from others

Effective Monday, Oct. 12:

• Local health departments must notify schools within 24 hours upon learning that a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19 is a school associated case.

• Within 24 hours of being notified by the local health department of a school associated case, the school must provide public notice to the school community on the district’s website. The website posting will replace the letter that has been used to communicate case information to the school community.

All other measures of illness mitigation (distancing, sanitizing, face covering of staff and students, etc…) will continue as they were prior to the two-week closure, said Davidson.

“At this point, I must share a warning from the local health department regarding the quality of face coverings,” he added:

• This is part of the contact tracing process, so although MDHHS guidelines for homemade face coverings is very broad, any student wearing an “ineffective” face covering (eg: mesh material or other loosely woven fabric) will be treated as if they were not wearing a mask at all.

• As a result, students wearing these types of masks are more likely to be quarantined by the health department than students wearing a more appropriate face covering in the event that there is a positive case of COVID-19 associated with the school.

• At this point any additional changes to the CLK Learning Plan will come from the state and/or local health departments per the Michigan Public Health Code or formal action by the CLK Board of Education.

“This continues to be an unprecedented time,” Davidson said, “but I remain optimistic that we can continue to work together to limit the impact this virus will have on our community and the education of our children.

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