Dexter students get vaccinated while COVID cases increase

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Dexter Community Schools sent out some recent updates on the COVID-19 front to the community and in the administration’s view it’s been a mix of good news and some concerns.

In the good news department, the school district sent out word through its Nov. 11 edition of, "Making Waves at DCS", which said, “Over 650 Dexter students ages 5-11 received their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination during school on Wednesday, November 10, 2021.”

The news announcement said partnering “with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Visit Healthcare, DCS is the first school district in Washtenaw County to offer a 5-11 year-old vaccination clinic to their families.”

The Making Waves at DCS announcement further said:

“District nurses, along with parent and grandparent volunteers helped students through the entire process, soothing fears and holding nervous hands when needed. Parents were welcome to join students during their scheduled time, many bringing favorite stuffed animals and small treats for afterward.”

“One Dexter parent expressed his thanks to the District for providing this service. “This has been so helpful for our family to have the clinic during the school day,” he shared. “I know many parents are struggling to find vaccination appointments, and we appreciate Dexter holding one so quickly. The District has been great through the whole pandemic with all their COVID-19 protocols.”

“Superintendent Chris Timmis also thanked all involved with running the clinic, “Your support of our kids and families is greatly appreciated and we are fortunate to have so many caring staff members, parents, nurses, administrators, and community members working with us to move forward out of this pandemic.”

And the concerning news came later on that day on Nov. 11 through an email letter to school district families from Timmis.

Here it is:

Dear DCS Families,

In the last two weeks, we have been notified of a significant increase in individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. The pace of the spread in some classrooms and the increase in positive cases has us concerned about the safety of our staff/students/families, continued spread, and the potential for rolling quarantines disrupting families for months. Washtenaw County is seeing an increase of cases in 5-11 and 12-17 year old students. We are working closely with the Washtenaw County Health Department to determine if there is an outbreak at Creekside Intermediate School and Wylie Elementary School.

At this time, we do not plan to close classrooms or move them to remote learning. A move to remote learning would require synchronous zoom sessions all day or us making up days at the end of the year. We believe we can continue to keep students safely in the buildings as long as we can maintain staffing. We are working with the Washtenaw County Health Department on test-to-stay options for students. Students who have been identified as close contacts and chosen the test-to-stay option have, overall, tested negative.”

Our goal this year is to keep our kids in school and to keep our students, families, and staff safe. We are fortunate to have a very high percentage of our students, staff, and community members who are vaccinated. Universal masking and other layered strategies have helped us keep kids in school. This is our top priority but we need your help.

If your child is experiencing any COVID-19 related symptoms, please keep them home and get them tested. Dexter Community Schools has arranged for PCR testing with a 6 to 12 hour turnaround offered at Jensen’s Pharmacy in Dexter at 7067 Dexter Ann Arbor Road. Jensen’s is open Monday through Saturday between 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Please pre-register at rapidbio.com/covid19, pick an appointment time. Choose SARS-CoV-2 rt PCR and then choose Location as Jensen's Community Pharmacy (7067 Dexter Ann Arbor Rd). Call them from your car when you are curbside at their store (734)426-6210 and they will come out to you. Test results are usually available within 24 hours.

COVID related symptoms include:

  • Temperature 100.4 or signs of a fever (chills/sweating)
  • Sore Throat
  • New onset of cough
  • Diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal pain
  • New onset of headache
  • Lost of taste or smell

We continue to work closely with the Washtenaw County Health Department (WCHD) and we will continue following all guidelines and protocols. As a reminder, we need everyone to do their part to help minimize the spread of COVID-19. This includes keeping your child home if they’re experiencing any symptoms, completing the daily health screener, masking up, social distancing, practicing healthy hygiene habits, and if you can, get vaccinated.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Washtenaw County Health Department at 734-544-6700, health@washtenaw.org or your pediatrician.

Thank you for your continued support and commitment to each other.
Take care and Go Dreads!

Sincerely,

Christopher Timmis, EdD

Superintendent

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