To protect the health of our School Community and per the Emergency Order issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Reporting of Confirmed and Probable Cases of COVID-19 at Schools on October 9, 2020, Orchard View Schools will use this webpage to provide Public Notice to our School Community regarding School Associated Cases of COVID-19.

Within 24 hours of being notified of a School Associated Case by Muskegon County Health Department, this dashboard will be updated to include new and cumulative COVID-19 case counts. Individuals identified as Close Contacts of School Associated Cases will be notified separately and directly by Muskegon County Health Department.

Public Notice - Confirmed & Probable Cases

Updated:  October 23, 2020

STATUS OF INSTRUCTION AND SCHOOL-SPONSORED FUNCTIONS

  • Instruction: All Orchard View Schools remain Open at this time.
  • School-Sponsored Functions: There is no change to any school-sponsored functions.

SCHOOL ASSOCIATED COVID-19 CASES

Muskegon County Health Department made us aware of the following case counts of School Associated Cases of COVID-19 amongst the Orchard View School Community. This data may include probable and confirmed cases as reported by Muskegon County Health Department among students, staff, administration, coaches, or visitors, if the person with COVID-19 was in the building or participating in a school-sponsored function during their infectious period.

New Cases (Since 10/23/2020)

2

Cumulative Cases (Since Reporting Began)

10

Populations Affected

7 Staff, 3 Students 


As a precaution, we will be disinfecting applicable areas of the school. This may include spraying classrooms, hallways, locker rooms, and common areas, as needed, with a sanitizer, along with other methods of disinfection.

Thank you for understanding that, due to medical privacy laws, we are not able to release the names of the individuals with COVID-19. We will continue to communicate changes and updates with you.  With your participation, we believe we can maintain a safe environment while also providing quality education.

If you have any questions, contact Muskegon County Health Department  at (231) 724-6246. For answers to your COVID-19 questions, please call the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 Hotline at 888-535-6136 or visit Michigan.gov/Coronavirus.

Actions You Can Take

We recommend taking action to help limit the spread of COVID-19, even if staff members or students are not experiencing symptoms:

  • Wear a mask (covering mouth and nose) while in public places or if people who do not live with you must visit your home.
  • Practice social distancing (maintaining a distance of 6 feet apart).
  • Practice frequent hand washing (using soap for 20 seconds or hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol).
  • Follow capacity restrictions of social gatherings.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or with the inside of your elbow and immediately wash your hands.
  • Stay home if you are sick; you can also get tested.
  • Answer the phone if the health department contacts you, as a contact tracer may be trying to reach you with important information.

This information does not mean you should quarantine or isolate. Those members of the School Community who were or are suspected to have been in Close Contact with a School Associated Case will be notified by Muskegon County Health Department.

COVID Vocabulary

October 28, 2020

Dear Parents and Staff,

Recently there appears to be confusion as to what it means to be isolated, quarantined, or to have a probable case of COVID-19. This letter was shared in a neighboring district recently and will hopefully clear up some of the confusion surrounding these commonly used terms.

The term “isolation” ties to a confirmed positive case of COVID-19. Individuals that have had a positive test for COVID-19 must “isolate” at home for 10 days and can only return to school once the 10 days have expired, and the individual is symptom free without the use of medication.

The term “quarantine” is tied to a direct exposure to a positive case, but the exposed individual is not showing symptoms of COVID-19. This person must “quarantine” at home for 14 days. If at any time during the quarantine period the person begins to show symptoms, they then must isolate for 10 days from the onset of those symptoms.

The term “probable case” means that the individual has been exposed to a positive COVID-19 case and is showing symptoms, but has not been tested. This person would also have to isolate for 10 days and could not return to school until after the 10 days have expired from the first sign of symptoms, and is symptom free without the use of medication.

As a school district, when we are made aware of a positive COVID-19 case, we work with the health department to determine who had close contact with the positive case. Then either the principal or the health department will instruct impacted families that students with close contact to the positive or probable case must go into quarantine. Note that close contact means being within 6 feet of an infected individual for a total of 15 minutes within a 24 hour period. As such, when we have a positive case in a classroom, only those who meet the definition of close contact need to be quarantined, not the whole class. That said, when a building has multiple positive cases, we would be in consultation with the health department to consider a school closure whether it be for a short or long duration depending upon the circumstances.

Parents are required to screen their students before sending them to school. Staff must also selfscreen before reporting to work. If a student or staff person has COVID-19 symptoms but has not had a known exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 case, they should stay home until they are symptom free without the use of medication. This is different from quarantine. By definition, quarantine only happens when there has been a known direct exposure to COVID-19. Simply showing symptoms, but not having had a known direct exposure does not require 14 days of quarantine, but we do require these individuals to be symptom free before returning to school.

For up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 at Orchard View Schools please visit our website at orchardview.org and click on the COVID-19 Banner.

Sincerely,
Jim Nielsen Superintendent

West Michigan School Community Letter - Oct 20, 2020

October 20, 2020

RE: Recent Rise in COVID-19 Cases in Community and Implications for Schools

Dear West Michigan School Community:

As superintendents representing Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon Counties, we first want to acknowledge your extraordinary patience during these difficult times. Your understanding during this pandemic has been critical in keeping our schools safe.

Unfortunately, the collective hard work of schools alone is not sufficient in controlling community spread of the coronavirus. Public health experts report significant increases in positive cases across our state and region in recent weeks. Health officials cite that the rise in cases is largely due to a lack of safe practices -- mainly distancing and mask wearing -- in social settings and community gatherings. If cases continue to trend upwards, County Health Departments warn schools may be forced to implement additional restrictions to prevent continued infections. Restrictions may include cancellation, or other mitigation efforts, of extracurricular activities like athletics, band, choir and drama.

As a worst case scenario, schools may be asked to shift to a distance learning instructional model either periodically or for an extended period of time until cases decline.

And while safety remains our number one priority, we also acknowledge the important role schools serve for our broader community. Schools are vital in meeting the academic, social, emotional and physical wellbeing of students and families. We must do everything we can to keep schools safe and open.

To mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our communities and to keep schools open, we ask that all social and community gatherings continue to adhere to safe mitigation protocols. We’ve worked too hard over the last several months to reverse course now.

Together, we can slow the spread of COVID-19.

On behalf of the students and communities we serve, we thank you for your continued support.

Sincerely

Signed by the Superintendents from the following schools:  (Printable copy of letter available on the right side of this web page.)

Jenison Public Schools Kent I.S.D. Byron Center Public Schools
Grandville Public Schools Comstock Park Public Schools Kenowa Hills Public Schools
East Grand Rapids Public Schools Kent City Community Schools Forest Hills Public Schools
Kentwood Public Schools Godfrey-Lee Public Schools Rockford Public Schools
Godwin Heights Public Schools Lowell Area Public Schools Kelloggsville Public Schools
Mona Shores Public Schools Wyoming Public Schools Montague Area Public Schools
Orchard View Schools Muskegon Area I.S.D. Fruitport Community Schools
Ravenna Public Schools N Muskegon Public Schools Reeths Puffer Public Schools
Holton Public Schools Caledonia Community Schools Oakridge Public Schools
Allendale Public Schools Ottawa Area I.S.D. Hudsonville Public Schools
Coopersville Area Public Schools Saugatuck Public Schools Grand Haven Area Public Schools
Spring Lake Public Schools Hamilton Community Schools West Ottawa Public Schools
Holland Public Schools Zeeland Public Schools Grand Rapids Christian Schools
Northview Public Schools Sparta Area Public Schools Black River Public Schools
Diocese of G.R. Catholic Schools Cedar Springs Public Schools Whitehall Public Schools
Thornapple Kellogg Schools    

 

October 9, 2020 Update

October 9, 2020

This has been a busy week with updates and information coming from Lansing. Recent decisions by the Michigan Supreme Court and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services related to the COVID-19 pandemic may create some confusion about mask requirements and spectator guidelines at district events.

The guidelines from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services are currently in effect until October 30, 2020. In our region, these guidelines 

  • Require the wearing of masks at schools for all grades
  • Limit gatherings at indoor venues to 20 persons/ 1,000 sq. ft – limit of 500 persons
  • Limit gatherings at outdoor venues to 30% of normal capacity –  limit of 1,000 persons
  • Require the wearing of facial coverings during organized sports by participants and spectators

Based on the requirements and recommendations of the Michigan Safe Start Plan, a team from Orchard View Schools developed our “Return to Learn Plan,” which was approved by the Board of Education, the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District, and Muskegon County Public Health in August of 2020.  We have successfully followed our plan to date, and will continue to do so.

This means we will continue our current masking procedures that were in place since the beginning of school, on buses, in classrooms, in hallways, at lunch, etc.  At the K-5 level we will continue wearing masks in classrooms. Staff and students will have scheduled “mask breaks” throughout the day, and we will monitor developments closely in the next several weeks. If you have specific concerns about masks in the elementary buildings please contact your building principal.

Our primary concern is watching out for the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and school community.  As always if you have questions or concerns, please feel free to call me at 760-1300, or email me at jim.nielsen@orchardview.org. We are thankful you have chosen Orchard View Schools and we will continue to strive to make Every Day a Great Day to be a Cardinal!  

MDHHS Director Issues Epidemic Public Health Order

October 5, 2020

MDHHS Director Issues Epidemic Public Health Order
 

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Director Robert Gordon today issued an Emergency Order under MCL 333.2253 restricting gathering sizes, requiring face coverings in public spaces, and places limitations on bars and other venues. Under MCL 333.2253, if the MDHHS director determines that control of an epidemic is necessary to protect the public health, the director by emergency order may prohibit the gathering of people for any purpose and may establish procedures to be followed during the epidemic to insure continuation of essential public health services and enforcement of health laws.

Violations of this order are punishable by a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than six months or a fine of not more than $200, or both. Violations of this order are also punishable by a civil fine of up to $1,000.

Today’s orders largely reinstate, under the department’s authority, three major aspects of prior emergency orders issued by Gov. Whitmer:

Requirements to wear masks at indoor and outdoor gatherings: The order requires individuals to wear masks when in gatherings, defined as any occurrence where persons from multiple households are present in a shared space in a group of two or more and requires businesses and government offices to enforce those requirements for gatherings on their premises.

The order also requires the wearing of masks at schools for all grades, except for in Michigan Economic Recovery Council Region 6.

Limitations on the size of gatherings: The order reinstates limitations on gathering sizes that mirror the requirements that Governor Whitmer had previously put in place. These include indoor gatherings of more than 10 and up to 500 people occurring at a non-residential venue are permitted within the following limits:

In venues with fixed seating, limit attendance to 20% of normal capacity. However, gatherings up to 25% of normal capacity are permitted in Michigan Economic Recovery Council Region 6.

In venues without fixed seating, limit attendance to 20 persons per 1,000 square feet in each occupied room. However, gatherings of up to 25 persons per 1,000 square feet are permitted in Michigan Economic Recovery Council Region 6.
Non-residential outdoor gatherings of between 100 and 1,000 persons at venues with fixed seating are permitted at up to 30% of normal capacity and at 30 persons per 1,000 square feet at venues without fixed seating.

Limitations on certain establishments: Although the order does not close bars, it requires them to close indoor common areas where people can congregate, dance, or otherwise mingle. Indoor gatherings are prohibited anywhere alcoholic beverages are sold except for table services where parties are separated from one another by at least six feet.

In addition, athletes training or practicing for or competing in an organized sport must wear a facial covering, except when swimming, or consistently maintain six feet of social distance.

The order is effective immediately and valid through October 30, 2020.

October 4, 2020 Update

You may have heard news reports about the recent decision by the Michigan Supreme Court stating, for a number of legal reasons, that the issuance by the Governor of executive orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer valid moving forward.

What does this mean for Orchard View Schools?

ased on the requirements and recommendations of the Michigan Safe Start Plan, a team from Orchard View Schools developed our “Return to Learn Plan,” which was approved by the Board of Education, the Muskegon County Intermediate School District, and Muskegon County Public Health in August of 2020. We have been guided by this document for the first six weeks of the school year.

After careful consideration, and unless, or until, we receive additional or other guidance from a lawful authority, we will maintain our current course for the 2020-21 school year as adopted and approved by the Orchard View School Board in our “Return to Learn Plan.”

We do plan to seek additional guidance in the next couple of days and hope to update the community by the end of the upcoming week regarding any potential changes. In the meantime, I hope all of the Orchard View Community will continue to support the difficult decisions that we are faced with.

This means we will continue our current masking procedures that were in place since the beginning of school, on buses, in classrooms, in hallways, at lunch, etc. At the K-5 level we will begin wearing masks in classrooms starting October 5, 2020. Staff and students will have scheduled “mask breaks” throughout the day, and we will monitor developments closely this week. If you have specific concerns about masks in the elementary buildings please contact your building principal.

Our primary concern is watching out for the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and school community. As always if you have questions or concerns, please feel free to call me at 760-1300, or email me at jim.nielsen@orchardview.org. We are thankful you have chosen Orchard View Schools and we will continue to strive to make Every Day a Great Day to be a Cardinal!

September 28, 2020 Update

Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Friday, September 25, 2020 signed Executive Order 2020-185 that requires all Michigan students in grades kindergarten and up to wear protective face masks when in classrooms of schools in Phase 4 of the MI Safe Start Plan. The executive order is effective on October 5, 2020.

We have been very fortunate at Orchard View not to have been negatively impacted by positive COVID results from staff/students in our buildings. This can be in part attributed to all who have been meeting our expectations of masks where required and social distancing. Orchard View will always follow Executive Orders so we will be requiring students in K-5 to wear masks beginning October 5. If you have questions or concerns about this latest change please feel free to contact your child's principal. The Orchard View District is located in Region 2 of our State, our region is currently in Phase 4 of Governor Whitmer's MI Safe Start Plan. The current requirements will change if we move to Phase 3 or 5 later this school year.

July 13, 2020 Update

As you likely know, recently Governor Whitmer released her “MI Safe Schools: Michigan’s 2020- 21 Return to School Roadmap.” It contains requirements that we must implement in order to safely bring students and staff back to school for face-to-face instruction when the new school year starts on August 25, 2020.

With this in mind, Orchard View immediately began pulling teams of stakeholders together to review the document and to discuss the topics of “Safety and Operations” and “Instruction/Technology”. Our goal, like other school districts in the county, is to develop plans that are Safe and Sensible. The two teams working on the topics have met and started to determine what school might look like in the various phases of Governor Whitmer's “MI Safe Start Plan.”

Just as a point of reference, we are currently in Phase 4, which allows for face to face instruction in the Fall with many requirements and recommendations from the State. If we were to slip back to Phase 3, all instruction would go back to on-line distance learning, similar to how we ended last school year. If we were to move into Phase 5, face to face instruction would continue with fewer requirements than Phase 4.

Orchard View will follow all requirements listed in the document and will follow as many of the recommendations as possible. For example, taking into account the size of some classrooms and other learning spaces, some recommendations around desk spacing become challenging to meet.

I know many people, like me, are hoping for a safe return to school this Fall and for those who do not feel comfortable with being in a more traditional school environment, we will have a virtual option available, too. There is significant work going into developing the virtual learning model right now.

The “Return to School Roadmap” will be followed closely to create a vision for how instruction and learning will look like at Orchard View in each of the phases. This also includes a fully virtual option for students. Our top two priorities are to create plans that create powerful student learning and ensure those plans keep students and staff safe. I will try to keep all stakeholders informed as much as possible.

Please stay safe and trust we will do everything we can to make sure your child has a safe and meaningful learning experience in the 2020-2021 School Year.

June 10, 2020 Statement on School Reopening in Muskegon County

As leaders of the public school districts in Muskegon County, we want to thank our students, parents/guardians, teachers, support staff, food service staff, administrators, and community for their flexibility and patience as our school buildings were closed and we adapted to remote learning. We recognize that this sudden shift was not without its challenges, and we thank you for working to overcome them amidst the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. It certainly points out the irreplaceable and rich learning that occurs in our ideal, face-to-face classrooms inside our school buildings. 

We also want to thank our community for supporting the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District Technology & Security Enhancement Millage. Because of the wise use of this funding over the past six years, our schools were able to quickly deploy quality devices with online filters to student homes. In addition, our teachers were more familiar with online instructional tools, and our technical staff was better equipped to support them. The one thing the millage could not resolve was the connectivity issue that blocked some of our students and staff and required alternative printed materials and phone calls.

With the school year coming to an end, we are reflecting on what we have learned these past few months and we are looking forward to the 2020-21 school year. Each of our districts is actively enrolling kindergarten students for the fall. Regardless of the COVID-19 situation, our schools will be ready to teach our students with more robust programs in the safest possible format. While we are eager to return to our school buildings, our top priority continues to be the health and wellbeing of our students, staff, and community. 

For this reason, we are asking for your patience and understanding as we plan for a variety of options this fall including remote learning, face-to-face learning, and/or some blend of the two. This planning takes time and involves the voices of our students, staff, and parents. It is guided by the direction of state and local public health officials. You can count on our schools to construct the safest and best possible plans for starting school in the fall. It’s what we do.

Yours in Education, 

The Superintendents of Schools in Muskegon County