Health and wellness of students and staff continues to be our priority at North Branch Area Public Schools (NBAPS).

We value flexibility and choice for families to decide what is best for each child: distance learning or 5-day, in-school option. Our Safe Learning plan provides predictability of daily schedule, instructional model and learning environments to meet the holistic needs of each student during this challenging time. This update incorporates feedback from students, families, and staff members as we continue to engage in an ongoing planning process. We truly are better together!

On Monday, Oct. 11, NBAPS shifted from a Level 1 COVID response to a Level 2. Primarily, the change increases communication between the school district and affected families to assist them in making informed decisions when conducting self-assessments.

Here are the highlights of the move:

• There will be no change to school start and end times.

• The change to Level 2 includes classrooms preK-5 receiving classroom notification letters, and students grades 6-12 receiving close contact notification letters. Recipients will not be required to quarantine.

• Free COVID-19 screening kits are available to staff and families to assist with assessing COVID symptoms.

NBAPS is providing free COVID-19 screening tests to staff and families. These COVID-19 screening tests are a great tool to assist in conducting health assessments to ensure students and staff stay home when they have COVID-like symptoms that are not connected to an alternative diagnosis.

If you would like to review all of the details involved with Level 2, they are available to the general public here: www.isd138.org/Page/441. NBAPS will continue to report confirmed COVID-19 test results in its COVID dashboard.

As we work in consultation with our county public health officials to review weekly COVID-19 cases, it is assuring that our data continues to affirm that schools are not a super-spreader of COVID-19 and I am so thankful for our amazing staff and students for adhering to our mitigation measures. We continue to be thankful for community support of our 2017 bond referendum that proactively allowed us to invest in top of the line ventilation systems. Many school districts are not as fortunate to have this critical layer of mitigation in place and we are so grateful!

The effects of the pandemic response over the last 18-plus months has had adverse effects on children and students of all ages. Our students have been very fortunate to have had less disruption due to our ability to provide in-person learning. We are determined to keep kids in school on a normal schedule as long as we can safely do so. On behalf of all of us here at NBAPS, thank you for all of your continued support and partnership in that mission!

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