GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids Public Schools announced new COVID-19 and monkeypox guidelines for the upcoming school year.

GRPS Superintendent Leadriane Roby sent out a letter to parents and staff on Monday with the updated guidelines. The guidelines are recommendations from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Kent County Health Department.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) has maintained an unwavering commitment to the health, safety, and well-being of our students, families, and staff. We consistently followed the guidance and direction from our federal, state, and county health officials, and we plan to do the same for the 2022-2023 school year.”

Leadriane Roby, Grand Rapids Public Schools superintendent

Masks are not required for students and staff, however, GRPS is encouraging all students to wear them. They also encourage all students and staff to get vaccinated. Students who have COVID-19 will still have to isolate for five days.

However, CDC says anyone positive for COVID-19 should stay home and only return once they’ve been fever-free for 24 hours and all symptoms have begun to subside. CDC also recommends wearing a mask on days six through 10 when in public. Confirmed cases of COVID-19 also still need to be reported to the school health offices.

Individuals experiencing symptoms of a communicable disease should stay home and contact their health care provider or school nurse for guidance. Symptoms may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Unexplained rash

When it comes to monkeypox, it can spread to anyone through close, personal and frequent skin-to-skin contact. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, it is believed that direct contact with the monkeypox rash, scabs or body fluids is the most common way that it is being spread.

If you feel sick or have a rash, GRPS says students should not attend school or social gatherings and contact their health provider.