January 9, 2021
Dear South Lake Families and Staff:
Recently the Michigan Occupational Health and Safety Administration (MIOSHA) sent an investigator to our high school based upon a complaint from an employee. As you know, the high school students are engaged in remote learning; however, some employees are still reporting to the facility.
We cooperated fully with the investigator as he identified several problems with the district’s documentation process. Upon receiving the report, we expedited the case by accepting the findings, which lowered the fine by 50%. Disputing the findings would have been more expensive than accepting the results; however, I want to highlight several things.
The health and safety of our staff and students remains the district’s priority. The South Lake Board of Education adopted South Lake Schools COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan on August 12, 2020. This plan was developed with the Macomb Intermediate School District and mirrors the plans of all 21 districts in Macomb County. A copy of the plan is online and can be accessed by going to this link: Business Services – Business Services – South Lake Schools (solake.org). The district has followed the plan in its ongoing commitment to health and safety.
As part of its plan, all South Lake Schools employees were required to complete an online “Coronavirus Awareness” training module prior to the start of school. This module provides information about the virus and how it spreads, preventative approaches, the importance of wearing a mask, and how to properly sanitize.
Coupled with this training, employees were required to complete, and document required daily health screening prior to reporting to work. However, we did not have documentation proving that these screenings were monitored and reviewed daily. We have corrected this. We now send a daily email with a link to the documentation through Survey Monkey. The administrative assistant to the curriculum director and/or the administrative assistant to the superintendent reviews these surveys daily. We also maintain an electronic record of these surveys.
In addition, every employer is required to keep documentation regarding the chemical make-up and safety response for chemical agents, such as hand sanitizer, compounds in the high school lab, cleaning products, etc. The district has this documentation, however, the personnel interviewed were unable to easily locate it and with changes in district cleaning products and hand sanitizers, the notebook had not been recently updated. As a result, we are currently revising and updating this notebook and making sure that new and existing personnel understand how to locate it.
We appreciate and respect the difficult work that MIOSHA does across the state of Michigan as they seek to ensure safety at such varied places as construction sites, mines, oil drilling and pumping, road construction, etc. We share their commitment to the health and safety of Michigan’s workforce, and we have taken steps to address their documentation concerns.
If you should have questions regarding this, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Theodore VonHiltmayer, Superintendent