April 2, 2020
Today, Governor Whitmer announced that schools in Michigan will be closed for the reminder of the 2019-20 school year. We applaud the decision by the Governor to ensure the safety of all Michigan students as we continue to work toward slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. On behalf of the Board of Education and our entire staff, I want to take a moment to thank and express our appreciation to all of the health care professionals and first responders who have been working on the front lines to treat those affected by this virus.
To summarize the Governor’s official, seventeen page order, here are a few key points:
- All public school buildings will be closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.
- All school districts must develop a plan for continued on-line/distance learning.
- Seniors will be allowed to graduate and students will move to the next grade assuming they are on track to graduate, have met standards, and/or will show they have met standards over the next several weeks via online learning or other methods.
- Assessments are waived (SAT, PSAT, M-Step). Students who were scheduled to take the SAT this spring will have an opportunity to take the SAT which may occur in the fall.
- Food distribution programs will continue.
- The state will continue to provide school aid payments allowing districts to pay staff regular wages/salary and benefits for the remainder of the school year.
We are still reviewing all of the details in the Governor’s order and awaiting further direction from the Michigan Department of Education. However, our administrative team has already started developing a distance learning plan that will be submitted to our local Intermediate School District (ISD) as required by the Governor’s order. Approval by the ISD will ensure the remainder of the school year will count for the District and that we will continue to receive our school aid budgetary payments. A key component in the Governor’s order is that students need to participate in distance learning or other forms of continued learning that is provided by the district. Items related to specific students or a specific grade level will be addressed at the school level in coordination with the direction taken by central office leadership. Principals and teachers will provide that information as it becomes available.
We understand that this order has created many more questions, especially for our seniors. We will continue to have discussions with regard to how we will honor our graduation class of 2020. I have a meeting scheduled with the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council on Friday and this will be part of the discussion. In addition, the Board of Education will provide direction and will appoint a committee to acquire student, parent, and community input.
We were hopeful that students would be able to return to the classroom, at least for a short time, to bring closure to the school year. Unfortunately, the number of COVID-19 cases is predicted to increase over the next few weeks which has eliminated that option in accordance with the Governor’s order. We will continue to be optimistic for the future while we make plans that address the realistic conditions we are currently facing.
Our state is still under a mandatory Shelter in Place order by the Governor. This means that in order to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and support the efforts of those who are on the front lines dealing with this serious situation, we must all do our part and remain in our homes. Our short-term sacrifices now will help to prevent an even longer shut down later; “Stay Home Stay Safe”.
I have witnessed the great work by our staff, parents, students, and community members as we deal with the COVID-19 crisis. I want to especially thank our outstanding Teachers and Administrators for the great work they are doing to support our students. In addition, I want to recognize the heroic effort of our Food Service staff, the PTA volunteers, and Operations staff for the distribution of thousands of meals over the past several weeks. We are a strong and resourceful community and I am so very proud to see how we have come together to support each other through this very difficult time. I want to close by saying that we all need to remain hopeful and know that we will get through this. Take care of your family and take care of yourself.
Please be safe and stay healthy,
Glenn Maleyko, Ph.D.