2021-2022 COVID-19 Return to Learn
On August 24, 2021, The Oakland County Health Division (OCHD) issued an Emergency Order (2021 - 01) which, generally, requires universal masking for all individuals inside “educational settings” anywhere in the County.
The Emergency Order has raised a number of important and relevant questions. We will continue to add more information as we receive confirmation regarding the answers.
Thank you for your continued patience and understanding.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can the school district just defy the OCHD directive?
A: No. A public school district is required to comply with a mandate from the county or state health department.
Ignoring the mandate would be considered gross negligence. Public school districts (and their employees) are largely protected by governmental immunity should students or employees become injured/ill while at school. One of the fundamental predicates of governmental immunity is that the governmental agency (school district) is engaged in a governmental function (running of a school, consistent with legal requirements).
If the school district was operating while openly and intentionally disregarding and violating an order from a local health department (which has the authority under Michigan law to dictate health, safety, and welfare protocols), the school district runs the risk of not being afforded the protections of governmental immunity and, therefore, being held legally liable for injuries/illness which may befall a student or employee.
Additionally, the COVID-19 Response and Reopening Liability Assurance Act, passed by the Michigan Legislature in October 2020, provided for individual and organizational immunity from liability for claims related to COVID illness. However, such protections are expressly conditioned on a good faith adherence to applicable laws, regulations, and orders – which would include the OCHD Emergency Order.
In short, open defiance of the Emergency Order would create significant legal exposure for the school district, its board of education, and staff.
Q: If someone is vaccinated, do they still have to wear a mask?
A: Yes. The Emergency Order applies to “students, teachers, administrative staff, attendees, volunteers, and other employees or volunteers of Educational Institutions.” The Emergency Order also requires that “all persons, regardless of vaccination status, ... consistently wear a facial covering ...”
Q: What exemptions are provided in the Emergency Order, if any?
A: The Emergency Order delineates five (5) exemptions:
Q: Where can I locate information about COVID-19 vaccinations?
Return to Learn Communications
August 25, 2021
Dear Holly Area Schools families and staff,
Many of you may have seen media reports about the Oakland County Health Division (OCHD) requiring masks in all Oakland County schools.
Holly Area Schools is required to follow this mandate and we are adjusting our Return to School plans accordingly. As such, masks must be worn by all students, visitors and employees while inside any enclosed buildings throughout the district including on buses. OCHD has stated that the order is effective until the community transmission for Oakland County is determined “Moderate” for at least 14 days, or until further notice from the health officer.
As stated in previous communications, this is a dynamic situation and as a result of a mandate, we must adjust our planning. We are committed to working to keep you apprised and to provide accurate, timely information so our back-to-school plans are a success.
For details or to read the Health Division statement, please click here.
I know this news will come as a relief to some of our families, and a disappointment to others. We are not in the position to debate the emergency order. Our staff is working diligently to get buildings, classrooms, and programs ready for the return of students.
I hope we can move forward together as one united Holly Area Schools community focused on a successful return to school and providing a world class education to all Bronchos.
We greatly appreciate the continued cooperation, patience and understanding of our entire Broncho community as we look forward to a safe and successful return to school on Aug. 30.
Please go to our 2021 - 22 COVID-19 Return to Learn page on our website for more updates.
As always, it is a true honor serving as your Superintendent.
Scott M. Roper, Superintendent
Oakland County Issues Emergency Health Order Requiring Masks In Educational Settings
For immediate release: Aug 24, 2021, 6:22 PM
Contact: Bill Mullan, Oakland County Media and Communications Officer
Oakland County, Michigan – The Oakland County Health Division issued an emergency health order today requiring masks in daycares and elementary, middle, high, and vocational schools regardless of vaccination status to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The order aligns with recent guidance from the Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to ensure children, teachers, and staff are able to begin the school year safely.
This order comes on the heels of Oakland County returning to an indoor mask requirement for all employees last week regardless of vaccination status.
“Our top priority is keeping students in school for in-person learning. Masking is one of the best defenses against increased transmission of COVID and higher hospitalization rates among kids,” Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter said. “This order allows teachers to get back to educating our students and focusing on their success.”
Oakland County Health Division issued Emergency Health Order 2021-1 through the authority of the county’s health officer after evaluating local, state, and national data and conditions.
COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations are rising among children in the United States, with over 180,000 children testing positive the week of August 12-19, an increase from the prior week when 120,000 child COVID-19 cases were reported, according to a report from the AAP.
Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have indicated Oakland County is at substantial risk of COVID-19 transmission, especially the Delta variant. Of the 2,740 new cases of COVID-19 in Oakland County from August 4-17, more than one in six were school age children. Over 52,000 Oakland County residents ages 12-19 years old remain unvaccinated as the 2021-2022 school year gets underway. Plus, students younger than 12 years are ineligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Oakland County’s seven-day case average is 178 new cases per day or about 1,250 new cases per week, many among the unvaccinated. The county’s seven-day test positivity rate has climbed to 6.6 percent.
The test positivity rate has been rising since the beginning of July and has exceeded 5.0 percent since early August.
Masks help reduce the transmission of COVID-19 by reducing the number of respiratory droplets containing the virus that may emanate from an infected individual who is asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic. Studies of COVID-19 incidence in school districts during the 2020-2021 school year show that proper masking is the most effective mitigation strategy to prevent secondary transmission in schools. One study out of North Carolina indicated masking helped reduce COVID-19 transmission between 40 and 70 percent.
Masking is part of a multi-layered approach to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. Other preventative measures include immunization, social distancing, good hand hygiene, staying home when sick, and avoiding high-risk activity.
Emergency Health Order 2021-1 does not apply to the following individuals:
- Those eating or drinking.
- Children under the age of four years (supervised masking is recommended for children who are at least two years old).
- Anyone living with developmental conditions for whom it has been demonstrated that the use of a face covering would inhibit the person's access to education (those with Individualized Education Plan, Section 504 Plan, Individualized Healthcare Plan or equivalent).
- Vaccinated teachers working with children who are hard of hearing or students with developmental conditions who benefit from facial cues.
- Persons who have a medical reason confirmed in writing from a physician.
Mask Medical Exemption for Students Procedure
In order for a student who is age 2 or older to be exempt from wearing a mask due to medical reasons, HAS will require parents to have their child’s doctor (MD or DO, as required by Emergency Order 2021-1), complete and return the district’s HAS Student Face Covering Exempt Request form. Please follow the procedures outlined below for the consideration of medical exemption:
HAS 2021 - 2022 COVID-19 Dashboard
To protect the health of our school community and per the Emergency Order issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Holly Area Schools will use this webpage to provide public notice regarding school-associated cases of COVID-19. This dashboard will be updated within 24 hours when we are notified by the Oakland County Health Division of a school-associated COVID case. Individuals identified as close contacts of school-associated cases will be notified separately and directly by the Oakland County Health Division.
|Notification Date||Number of Confirmed or Probable Cases||What Building(s), Buses, or other areas of the district are affected?|
|9/14/21||1||Holly Middle School|
|9/13/21||2||Holly Middle School|
|9/8/21||1||Holly High School|
Holly Schools Virtual Learning 2021-2022
Holly Schools Virtual Learning 2021-2022
*** Please note that the window to apply for virtual learning has closed ***
Thank you for your interest in Virtual Learning with Holly Schools.
As a partner in your child’s education, it is important to support your family's need for learning options. At the same time it is also important that we ensure that all Holly students have the opportunity to grow, develop and thrive within their learning environment. While we understand that the current situation may be a difficult one, we have seen that some students find great success in virtual learning, and others do not. It is the goal of Holly Schools to work with each of our families to identify a learning path that best supports each student’s learning needs.
We are happy to offer a virtual learning option for those students who have shown that they can be successful through this mode. In order for the school district to appropriately staff classrooms, assign virtual mentors, and comply with the Michigan Department of Education pupil accounting guidelines, enrollment into our virtual program is a one (1) semester commitment. Semester 1 will end on January 19, 2022. Those students who are accepted into the virtual program, will be contacted in early December regarding their decision to continue with virtual learning or return to In-person learning for the second semester. There will be NO opportunity to return to In-Person learning until January 20, 2022.
The district will be accepting applications for 1st semester virtual learning enrollment via this Application link. Applications will be accepted until 12:00 pm on Monday, August 30, 2021. Applications will be reviewed and families will be notified by Wednesday, September 1, 2021 as to the status of their application.
Admittance into the Virtual Learning Program will be subject to several factors, such as previous virtual learning performance, attendance, a signed agreement to the terms below, program capacity limits.
** If a virtual student does not fully participate in the program they may not be allowed to continue for additional semesters.