KEEPING OUR COMMUNITY UPDATED ON COVID-19 Information
It is important for our ZPS community to have access to accurate and timely information about the COVID-19 health pandemic at ZPS and beyond.
Zeeland Public Schools will work under the guidance of The Ottawa County Health Department and in conjunction with area schools, medical professionals, and educational professionals to ensure the safety of all at ZPS and beyond.
August 24, 2021
Zeeland Public Schools is grateful and appreciative of our enduring partnership with the Zeeland Community. The Administration team and the Zeeland Public Schools Board of Education continue to closely examine plans for returning to school for the 2021-2022 school year. We also continue in our commitment to speak collectively in an effort to communicate clearly with the best interests of students as our priority.
In the previous Return to Learning Plan on August 4, 2021, ZPS noted the importance of flexible planning in addition to layered and measured mitigation strategies to combat COVID-19. On August 4, 2021, transmission rates were ‘moderate’ in Ottawa County. At the time of this update, Ottawa County is now operating under a “high” transmission rate. Given the current transmission rates of COVID-19 in our community, previous measures will continue to be implemented with additional measures taken to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the community:
- ZPS will be open for full-day, in-person instruction and learning. Families seeking an online learning alternative (ZConnect) should contact their building principal by August 27. Before and after school extracurricular activities will be provided for the enrichment of our students.
- Layered and measured approaches increase safety and protection for staff and students. As such, ZPS will promote physical distancing as much as is feasible.
- In compliance with the OCDPH, at this time, face coverings are required for students age 4 through 6th grade when inside any of our school buildings and for any persons (staff, volunteers, visitors/parents) in proximity of students age 4 through 6th grade.
- For grades 7-12, face coverings are highly recommended, but not required at this time. Face coverings are required for all students and staff in multi-grade settings where 6th grade students are present.
- All staff and students are required to wear face coverings on ZPS transportation due to a federal order that districts are required to follow.
- Curriculum-related volunteers, mentors, and visitors (including parents and guardians) will be allowed in school buildings with prior approval from the building administrator. Face coverings are required for anyone in proximity of students age 4 through 6th grade.
- Parents and guardians, visitors and volunteers are welcomed to attend announced events (such as open houses, sporting events, concerts, etc.). Face coverings are required for anyone who is in proximity of students age 4 through 6th grade.
- Students and staff will not be tested for COVID-19 unless it is mandated by the MHSAA, MDHHS, or the OCDPH. The COVID-19 vaccination is not required for school enrollment or attendance.
- ECC and childcare programs will follow licensing requirements set forth by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and the OCDPH.
- ZPS will continue to comply with orders from local and state health departments surrounding the mitigation of COVID-19.
We are fortunate to have a mutually respectful partnership with the Ottawa County Department of Public Health (OCDPH). Our local health department understands the importance of uninterrupted in-person learning for students.
In times like these, it is important for us to acknowledge that we are all dealing with highly emotional circumstances and diverse opinions. Although it may look different at times, Zeeland Public Schools will do all that we can to provide opportunities for students to interact and collaborate in thriving learning environments that are respectful, relationship-based, and positive.
August 4, 2021
Zeeland Public Schools appreciates the enduring patience and flexibility the community has shown throughout the past several months as the Administration team and the Zeeland Public Schools Board of Education have worked extensively on plans for returning to school for the 2021-2022 school year. While we value the many perspectives that have been shared, we speak collectively as one school district in an effort to communicate clearly with the best interests of students as our priority. Every conversation and decision has reflected our motto, which is that every child is safe, valued, and loved as a part of the ZPS district.
With this deep care for all students in mind, a key aspect of this Return to Learning Plan will be adaptable, flexible measures in order to carefully observe rates of transmission in our community as well as other variables which might warrant a reconsideration of current measures.
At the time of this draft, transmission rates remain ‘moderate’ in Ottawa County, though last academic year in Ottawa County we were operating at ‘substantial’ to ‘high risk’ transmission levels. Given the current transmission rates of COVID-19 in our community, the following are aspects of the ZPS Return to Learn plan to be implemented:
- Schools will be open for full-day, in-person instruction and learning. Families seeking an online learning format for their student can contact their building principal by August 13.
- Layered and measured approaches increase safety and protection for staff and students. As such, ZPS will promote physical distancing/cohorting as much as is feasible.
- Staff, students, and visitors will be encouraged but not required to wear face coverings, regardless of vaccination status. ZPS will not separate students or staff based on whether or not an individual chooses to wear a face covering.
- Staff and students are required to wear face coverings while on ZPS transportation due to a federal order that districts are required to follow. [Order under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 264) and 42 Code of Federal Regulations 70.2, 71.31 (b), 71.32 (b)]
- ZPS will comply with orders from local and state health departments if a face covering order is issued due to elevated levels of community transmission of COVID-19.
- Students and staff will not be tested for COVID-19 unless it is mandated by the MHSAA, MDHHS, or the OCDPH. The COVID-19 vaccination is not required for school enrollment or attendance.
- The OCDPH will continue to require quarantine for household close contacts of COVID-19 cases and close contacts in outbreak situations (two or more connected cases).
- Before and after school extracurricular activities will be provided for the enrichment of our students.
Once again, key aspects are reliant on current COVID-19 transmission. ZPS has several measures in place to maintain low levels of transmission, including an emphasis on personal hygiene (frequent hand washing), continuous deep cleaning, and regular communication with the local health department to monitor transmission rates. If transmission rates increase, additional mitigation measures may be warranted, and ZPS will comply with mandates by local, state, or federal agencies.
ZPS is committed to pulling together all resources to meet the various needs of our students, including physical needs such as food scarcity, mental health supports, and emotional health supports. We will remain vigilant in our commitment to provide every possibility for a learning environment where excellence thrives. Together, we will meet the challenges of this academic year with strength, sensitivity, and resilience.
May 7, 2021
Quarantine Rules Changed For Schools
Effective immediately, the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services will no longer require the county health departments of Ottawa, Muskegon, Ionia and Kent counties to quarantine students who have possibly been exposed to COVID-19 at school. This announcement is backed by extensive data that indicate minimal transmission occurs in the regional school setting.
Students currently quarantined due to contact tracing at school are immediately approved to return to school and are immediately eligible to participate in athletics, extra-curricular and co-curricular activities.
In the event of a positive COVID case, the affected individual must follow the 10 day isolation protocols to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Furthermore, immediate family members of a COVID positive individual and close contact, non-vaccinated school employees are still required to quarantine. The health department will make case-by-case decisions regarding outbreaks, including localized outbreaks, such as a single classroom.
As a result of these changes, schools will begin contact tracing to a 3 foot distance, rather than the previous requirement of 6 feet. ZPS will inform all close contacts as a required notification but will no longer mandate students to quarantine. Instead, parents can make their own informed decisions whether it is necessary to quarantine. ZPS will honor each decision and will remain flexible with attendance guidelines, as permitted.
This announcement serves as an official notification that students quarantined due to school related contact tracing are no longer quarantined. Those quarantined due to contact tracing outside of school must still follow the guidelines set by the Michigan Department of Public Health. If you have questions about your child’s situation, please contact your building.
ZPS emphasizes the importance to monitor children daily for symptoms associated with COVID-19. If your child displays symptoms, please stay home. ZPS has an online symptom checker available to assist families who are unsure of necessary steps or protocols.
Under state order, masks continue to be required indoors while at school, on the bus, and outdoors in groups over 100. Additionally, there is no change to the current state athletic requirements at this time.
ZPS appreciates the collaborative partnerships with all neighboring school districts and the Ottawa County Department of Public Health as we navigate through this pandemic together.
April 19, 2021
All buildings are open. Families will be contacted with necessary information regarding the need to quarantine, if and when necessary. Currently, all quarantines are 14 days from the last date of exposure.
ZPS Middle & High Schools Switch to Remote March 31 and April 1
Due to COVID-19, ZPS is experiencing a surge in absenteeism and students being quarantined at both the middle and high school levels. Attendance is currently between 65 - 75% in our middle and high school buildings and are continuing to decline. Normally, we would expect 95% attendance on these dates. Therefore, to mitigate further spread of COVID-19, all students grades 6-12 will participate in remote learning both Wednesday, March 31 and Thursday, April 1.
- Wednesday will follow a remote late start EVEN schedule.
- Thursday will follow a remote late start ODD schedule.
- Specific schedules will be shared directly from the school buildings.
Students in grades 6-12 can order meals available for pick up at ZEHS or ZWHS each day. Orders must be placed prior to 8 am through the Remote Learning Deli. This link can also be found on the ZPS Food Service webpage.
Attendance at the elementary level remains consistent and does not require any change to scheduling.
ZPS plans to return to in-person learning for all grades on Monday, April 12.
Traveling for Spring Break?
ZPS follows the guidelines set by the CDC and does not follow differing rules to travel. These guidelines are backed by the OCHD and can be found here.
Symptom Checker & Prevention
Not feeling well?
Parents can use this helpful symptom checker to understand what to do when a child doesn't feel well. This was designed for ZPS families.
The CDC also has a symptom checker to assist families who may have concerns about whether or not they may have COVID.
December 10 Update
Students in grades PK-8 are scheduled to return Monday, December 14, 2020 for in-person learning.
November 11 Update
Read this update in Spanish
Although many questioned how long in-person learning could last during a pandemic, we are proud of all our students and staff for all that has been achieved in the first academic quarter. It has been nothing short of amazing to see the strength and tenacity of teaching and learning in every corner of our district over the last 11 weeks. Thank you for supporting your children and our staff throughout this experience and this academic year.
Although student attendance remains near 89% (normal is 98%), the challenges associated with this pandemic have reached a new level both at ZPS and throughout West Michigan. The virus has expanded its reach into our community and our buildings. As local COVID cases increase, our state and local health systems are taxed to keep up with testing and results. Additionally, local community tracing is now done at the state level. This high case load translates to a delay in communication, sometimes up to a week, before a school building has sufficient detail and contact tracing within ZPS can be completed. Each building is experiencing numerous classes without substitute teachers and other staffing gaps that cannot be filled. As we all work tirelessly to maintain a healthy physical environment at ZPS, we are also mindful of the mental health and well-being of students and staff who must then be placed under quarantine. As our numbers escalate, so does our need to adjust quickly and effectively.
Therefore, it is for the health and well-being of our students, staff, and community that ZPS will alter the immediate in-person academic calendar to a remote calendar until after Thanksgiving Break. Specifically:
Thursday, November 12: Parent-teacher conferences remain as scheduled. The virtual half day for students is canceled to provide staff time to organize for remote learning.
Friday, November 13: No school (previously scheduled day off)
Monday, November 16: No school for PK-8 and Remote Learning for 9-12
Tuesday, November 17 - Tuesday, November 24: Remote Learning PK-12
Wednesday, November 25 - 27: Thanksgiving Break, no school
Monday, November 30: Return to in-person learning
Let’s all do our part so we can resume in-person learning.
Please continue to follow the CDC guidelines to stop the spread of COVID-19.
We understand there are many questions. We will do our best to provide information on key areas below.
Families can sign up for ZPS Meal Service by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 616-748-3128 before noon on Fridays. Food pick up is held every Tuesday from 2-5 pm at The Bridge in downtown Zeeland and includes a week's worth of breakfast and lunch per student at no cost.
Z-Kids Childcare is operating under the remote schedule plan. There is currently a waiting list for this program.
Early Childhood Center Preschool
The Early Childhood Preschool, as well as special education programs, will begin remote on Tuesday, November 17 to coincide with the K-12 schedule. At this time, ZPS childcare at the Early Childhood Center remains open for currently enrolled families.
Extra-Curricular Activities for Grades 6-12
Currently, extracurricular activities will continue with safety precautions in place. Students who participate in any extracurricular activity will receive information from their director or coach.
Currently, all Zeeland Recreation activities and the Zeeland Recreation Fitness Center remain open with safety precautions in place.
Z-Connect Online Learning students in grades Y5-5 will receive calendar updates from Leslie Rindfliesch, Z-Connect Director. Of immediate importance, Y5-5 students will have no academic requirements for Thursday, November 12. Z-Connect Online Learning for grades 6-12 is not affected by the calendar change. Students in grades 6-12 will continue with their self paced schedule. As a reminder, Friday, November 13 remains a scheduled day off for all Z-Connect students.
Remote Schedules and Class Information
Buildings and classrooms will provide further information about the remote schedule. Families can expect an update by Monday with more details.
We know this is a difficult undertaking for our families, as well as our staff. We hope this break from in-person learning will provide sufficient time to slow the spread of COVID-19 and allow for our medical facilities to properly navigate the current situation. We know in-person learning is critical for many students and our hope is to regain the ability to teach and learn in person. We thank you for your continued grace and wish all of our families a safe and healthy remote experience.
October 4 Update
On Friday, October 2, at approximately 5 PM, the Supreme Court ruled all State of Michigan Executive Orders placed after April 30 to be unconstitutional.
While ZPS understands there are numerous viewpoints associated with this highly sensitive topic, we ask for your continued grace and support while we navigate through this turning point for our state. ZPS is proud of the success experienced district-wide with mitigating the spread of COVID-19. While we understand it can be challenging, we couldn’t be more proud of the 6,000 students and 800 staff within our buildings who comply to maintain a safe and healthy environment.
Guided by the district’s motto of Safe, Valued and Loved, ZPS will meet tomorrow with local legislators, neighboring districts, legal counsel, medical advisors including the Ottawa County Health Department, and Zeeland Education Association leaders to fully understand the scope of the Supreme Court ruling and ensure all current safety plans are appropriate, effective, and timely.
Zeeland Public Schools will adhere to the safety guidelines currently practiced within the district as outlined in the Board of Education approved Preparedness Plan. This includes the continuation of wearing masks and practicing social distancing to minimize the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
ZPS will provide details as further guidance emerges. Until otherwise announced, ZPS will remain unchanged with current COVID-19 procedures.
August 31, 2020
- Message from Superintendent Calvin De Kuiper
July 31, 2020
- Superintendent Calvin De Kuiper Video Message
July 21, 2020
May 12, 2020
- May 12 Video Message from Superintendent Cal De Kuiper
All complete student hot lunch meals are free at this time. Please email email@example.com for full assistance.
Do you need help? Contact ZPS Cares
Mental Health Assistance
If you or someone you know needs mental health assistance during this time, resources are available. If an emergency, please call 911. Other resources include:
Crisis Text Line - Text “HOME” to 741741
Suicide Prevention Online Chat - https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/
Suicide Prevention Lifeline - Call 1-800-273-8255
The Trevor Project: Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25.
Trevor Lifeline - Call 1-866-488-7386
Trevor Chat - Confidential online instant messaging with a Trevor counselor, available 24-7. Access through a computer, as you may have technical difficulties using a smartphone or tablet. https://www.thetrevorproject.org/
Those seeking to make donations or receive distributions of food, non-perishable household items, or clothing are encouraged to utilize Harvest Stand in Zeeland. Please check with Harvest Stand for open hours.
Hand2Hand, a food program within all ZPS buildings, will be working out of City on a Hill. Food delivery through this program is available by calling 616.283.2645.
Contact for Assistance
Anyone requiring additional coordination of food and basic need resources can contact Lana Kamer at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 616.283.2645.