Ann Arbor Public Schools issues health advisory amid rise in student, staff illnesses

District offices for Ann Arbor Public Schools.

ANN ARBOR – Ann Arbor Public Schools released a health advisory on Thursday as many of its schools are experiencing a rise in illnesses among staff and students.

In an email written to the school community, AAPS Superintendent Jeanice Swift and executive director of Student and School Health Jenna Bacolor shared that absences among students and staff have increased as a result.

The news comes the same day Burns Park Elementary School was closed due to a high rate of staff illness.

Swift and Bacolor said illnesses reported include COVID, colds, influenza and other communicable diseases.

They advised students, their families and staff to take the following precautions:

  • Monitor yourself or your child for any signs of illness, such as cough, sore throat, runny nose, fever, and fatigue.
  • Stay home if ill.
  • Monitor yourself or your child for any COVID symptoms using the Student COVID-19 Symptom Checklist. Consider testing if symptoms are present.
  • No matter what the illness, the child should not return to school until free of fever, vomiting and diarrhea for at least 24 hours. Use your best judgment if they are fever-free but are experiencing symptoms that make it difficult to engage at school.
  • Students and staff are strongly advised to wear a mask at school, especially in schools where parents have been notified that their student’s classroom or building is experiencing high levels of illness.
  • Please notify the school office of the reason your child is out ill and any specific diagnosis to help us track what is circulating in our school community.

“Our primary goal is to maintain sufficient staffing and district operations to protect and preserve in-school learning on every day possible, and enjoy a healthy holiday break,” wrote Swift and Bacolor.

Within AAPS schools, they said several steps are being taken to prevent communicable disease transmission, including monitoring illness closely at both the building and district levels, increasing indoor air ventilation in buildings, communicating with families when illness in their students classroom or school building reaches 20%, deep cleaning and disinfection classrooms and schools where cases are reported and regularly consulting with the Washtenaw County Health Department.

They urged families to stay up-to-date on flu and COVID vaccines and to adopt everyday preventative measures like washing hands and using hand sanitizer frequently, avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes, avoid contact with sick individuals, staying physically active, drinking plenty of fluids and eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of rest.

The dates for Ann Arbor Public Schools’ Winter Break are Dec. 23-Jan. 6.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.