- Kalamazoo Public Schools
Dr. Raichoudhuri Letter - Jan. 3, 2022
January 3, 2022
Dear KPS Staff and Families:
Happy New Year! I hope that you were able to enjoy some time with family and loved ones over winter break.
While 2022 will present many unknowns, I wanted to provide a follow-up to my Dec. 16 letter to reassure
everyone that Kalamazoo Public Schools will continue to lead with health and safety in mind in an effort to
minimize interruptions to the in-person learning experiences that have proven so valuable to our students. The
district offered parents the choice of either in-person or virtual options this school year. This was completely a
parent's choice. Over 100 students participating in the virtual school in the fall opted to return to in-person
learning for trimester two. Although a handful of Michigan school districts have chosen to revert to remote
learning, our district’s decision to remain in person is based on the fact that our layered mitigation strategies
have successfully resulted in extremely low school-based transmissions.
The district continues to collaborate with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS),
the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), and the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services
Department (KCHCS) to monitor recommendations from healthcare experts and the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC). The layered COVID-19 mitigation strategies we’ve had in place all school year
have not changed and provide the greatest level of protection for all variants, including Omicron.
Safety Begins at Home: First and foremost, it is important that we all do our part to keep healthy, which
includes self-checks at home every day. Students and staff who are experiencing the following symptoms are
required to stay home: Cough, temperature of 100.4° or higher, chills, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing,
new loss of taste or smell, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, nasal congestion or runny
nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea. If an unvaccinated child is exposed at home, they must quarantine
before returning to school.
Universal Masking: KPS has required masks in our facilities since the beginning of the school year —
regardless of vaccination status. For anyone who does not have a mask, the district will provide one.
Vaccines: KPS has hosted a number of vaccination clinics and will continue to partner with healthcare
agencies to provide access to vaccines. Today, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Pfizer
booster shot for children ages 12-15. Anyone who is fully vaccinated and asymptomatic does not need to
quarantine if exposed to COVID-19. The CDC defined “fully vaccinated” in a recent press release as someone
who has had both vaccines and the booster, if the second vaccine was more than six months ago.
As a reminder, we are hosting a COVID-19 vaccine and flu shot clinic this Saturday, Jan. 8, at Hillside Middle
School, 1941 Alamo Ave. The clinic will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and you can pre-register for a time here. A
second clinic will be held on Jan. 29 at the same time and location. Please see the attached flyer for further
COVID Reporting Protocol: If a staff member or student tests positive for COVID-19, please contact your
school and complete this form. You will be contacted by a KPS nurse, who may ask for additional information
and provide guidance.
*********** NEW MITIGATION STRATEGIES **************
KPS Events: Events that include attendees outside of KPS students or staff will be limited to fewer than 100
people for the month of January. Schools will communicate about sporting events, fine arts programs, and
other scheduled programs. Some events may be postponed or held remotely, while others will continue with
limited capacity. We will revisit this decision for February.
Notifications: As outlined in my Dec. 16 letter, we made a minor adjustment to our positive COVID-19
notification process. Individuals identified as close contacts will still receive a personal phone call. The entire
school community will receive only an email message.
Test-to-Stay: As mentioned in my Dec. 16 letter, in collaboration with the MDHHS and the KCHCS, KPS is
participating in a pilot program called Test-to-Stay. This program began today and is being implemented in
response to requests by parents who have been burdened by quarantine requirements as well as the district’s
desire to keep students in school when possible. The Test-to-Stay pilot program allows unvaccinated students
and adults to receive antigen tests at school after a school-based exposure. Students will need to have a
signed permission slip to participate. They will receive antigen tests at school after a school-based exposure.
They can continue to stay at school as long as the tests are negative. We have received a limited supply of
antigen tests to launch the pilot program and additional tests were ordered months ago. Due to the national
supply chain issues with testing kits, we may not be able to implement this with fidelity.
MI Backpack Home Test Program: The district has applied for rapid home tests through the MDHHS MI
Backpack Home Test program. Once received, free antigen tests will be made available on a voluntary basis to
KPS employees and families who would like to have a COVID-19 test kit at home. However, the home test
results cannot be accepted as proof of a negative test for return to school or work, because the district cannot
verify the test validity (date taken and person taking the test).
This letter will be posted on the KPS website. We will be updating our Health and Safety guidelines to reflect
these changes by the end of the week as well as adding an FAQ document. We are grateful for your
collaboration as we continue to navigate the unexpected with COVID-19.
Dr. Rita Raichoudhuri