Back to School Plans for 2021-2022

July 2, 2021

Dear Shepherd Public Schools Families and Staff:

We are so happy to see our local COVID-19 numbers decline and restrictions greatly reduced. We are looking forward to the upcoming school year!

The district has received a number of questions about what “school” will look like for the 2021-2022 school year. This update will provide you with our plans as of today, which may change should we receive public health orders from CDC, MDHHS, and/or ACHD. Athletics will adhere to rules set forth by MDHHS and MHSAA.

General Information (As of June 22, 2021)

What will our instructional model look like?

All students will attend school full-time five days per week following the published school calendar: Calendar here.

When does school start?

Our first full day of school is on Monday, August 23, 2021.

When are the first “Back to School Shepherd Schools'' events?

Shepherd Public Schools is planning a “Bluejay Bash.”  This event will include outside activities for students, food, music and an opportunity for parents to visit our schools on the main campus.  This event will be held Thursday, August 19th from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on our main school campus.

With regard to Open House/Orientation events, these schools are planning the following:

Shepherd High School Freshmen Welcome

Monday, August 16, 2021 9am - 12 pm.  Lunch will be provided. 

We will open our building and be available for questions during the Bluejay Bash.

Shepherd Middle School’s Sixth Grade Orientation Day

Friday, August 20, 2021 8:00 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.

Winn Elementary

Thursday, August 19, 2021 5:30 - 6:30 pm

Shepherd Elementary

Thursday, August 19, 2021 5:30 - 6:30 pm

What is the cost of breakfast and lunch for the 2021-2022 school year?  

Breakfast and lunch will be provided free of charge; however, ala carte items (i.e., a cookie, a bag of chips, a bottle of water, etc) will have to be purchased.

Will Shepherd Public Schools offer a virtual option for students?

The district will not be offering any type of virtual option.  There was not enough demand to make it feasible for the district. If you have questions or wonderings about options that may be available virtually for your child, please call the Central Office at 989-828-5520.

COVID-19 & Communicable Disease Protocols (As of June 22, 2021)

Are face masks required at school?

Face masks will be optional and provided by parents/guardians.

Will my child be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine in order to attend school?

No. The COVID-19 vaccine is not listed on the School Required Vaccination List. For more information, please see: School Required Vaccines for Parents by MDHHS

Will you separate students who are vaccinated from students who are unvaccinated?

No. Vaccination status is a personal choice. 

Will students be in cohorts in the classroom or on the playground?

No. As of June 22, 2021, MDHHS has discontinued all gathering limits for residential and nonresidential settings.

Will contact tracing continue?

Schools are required to report communicable diseases to their local health department within 24 hours. Positive or probable COVID-19 cases will be reported to the Isabella County Central Michigan District Health Department following our Communicable Disease Board Policy 8450 and Michigan Law Act No. 368 of the Public Acts of 1978. For a complete list of reportable diseases, please see the following document: 2021 Reportable Diseases. When there is a positive or probable case within a classroom, an exposure letter or correspondence from the school (Powerschool announcement/email) will be sent home to parent(s) just as we do with other communicable diseases such as chicken pox.

Will Shepherd Public Schools quarantine students?

We will continue to exclude staff and students suspected of having a communicable disease based on public health recommendations per the following authority:

 Michigan’s Communicable Disease Rules.

 Revised School Code, MCL 380.11a.

Will student athletes need to be tested for COVID-19 to participate?

No, MDHHS and MHSAA lifted all requirements for student testing as of June 22, 2021.

Will students continue to be required to wear masks and use hand sanitizer on our buses?

With regard to students riding school buses - masks will be optional and hand sanitizer will continue to be provided as an option for students.

 MDHHS prevention strategies in schools include:


  1. Promoting COVID-19 vaccination for eligible staff and students.

  2. Correctly and consistently using well-fitted masks that cover the nose and mouth. CDC recommendations for when to wear a mask in school settings.

  3. Social Distancing -  Physical distancing, including cohorting children together to reduce potential exposures.

  4. COVID-19 Screening, Testing and Contact Tracing

    • Encouraging students and staff to stay home if sick or having COVID-19 symptoms.

    • Encouraging students and staff to get tested for COVID-19 if having symptoms or if they are not fully vaccinated and are a close contact of someone who has COVID-19.

    • Conducting screening.

    • Implementing contact tracing and quarantine, collaborating with the local health department.

  5. Maintaining Healthy Environments

Additionally, as a district, we have secured a number of safety protocol measures to increase the health and safety of our children.  In our buildings - in all high volume capacity spaces  - (for example, offices, media centers, Choir/Band rooms, etc.) there will be air purification portable units.  Installed inside our larger ventilation units and systems district-wide will be UltraViolet air purification systems.

Thank you, Bluejay staff and families, for your attention to this message.  It is a WONDERFUL THING that we see our world returning to increased normalcy each and every day.  It is hoped you are able to relax and enjoy the remainder of this summer in preparation for next year’s school year.  I look forward to greeting your child(ren) and all our staff when we return in August. 


Terry J. Starr, Superintendent

The vision of the Shepherd Public Schools is to be a leader in K-12 Education. Our students will achieve personal success and become responsible and productive citizens.