June 22, 2020
Dear Students, Parents, Staff and Community Members:
As we wrap up a year unlike we’ve ever experienced, collectively we want to thank our students, our parents, and our school staff. We were all forced into a new way of school almost overnight, and everyone had to adapt to the changes very quickly. Our teachers, support staff, and administrators worked diligently to maintain relationships with students and their families throughout the last twelve weeks, despite having to do so remotely.
Our public schools are the CORE of our communities and we as educators understand the role our schools play in our communities. With very little time to prepare, our schools came together to feed students and families, provided emergency day care for essential workers, and continued to provide supporting services, such as social work, speech therapy, special education, and counselors. All this was done in addition to teaching and connecting with our students. To provide more internet access, 100 community hotspots were established throughout the region. These hotspots provided students with the opportunity to access their school network to do homework, research, and to connect with peers and teachers.
On Wednesday June 17th, Governor Whitmer announced that it is her intention to allow the resumption of face-to-face instruction when the new school year begins. While this is very exciting news, it is tempered somewhat by the knowledge that circumstances could change before then which may prevent us from returning to normal. We know that face-to-face instruction is the best option for our students and are planning for that to happen. However, with the safety of students and staff our highest concern, alternate plans must be considered and include virtual/remote learning or a hybrid of both face-to-face/virtual. Multiple plans must be developed and considered. We look forward to hearing the Governor’s plans on June 30th.
The challenge for us all going forward is to build a sustainable system to support robust education, regardless of the mode or method of instruction, while at the same time providing for the safety of our students, families, and staff. As we work through these questions, we will continue to seek and follow guidance from the State, the Michigan Department of Education, local health departments, and the CDC.
We recognize how difficult this time has been for many of our families and staff. We ask for your patience as we develop a comprehensive plan to educate our students. We want to reassure you that your children’s safety and their education are of the highest priority and that we will do our best to provide for both.
Ms. Angie McArthur, Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District
Mr. Brian Reattoir, Brimley Area Schools Mrs. Stephanie Vittitow, Ojibwe Charter School
Mr. Bill Henry, Consolidated Community School Services Mrs. Angela Nettleton, Pickford Public Schools
Mr. Robert Vaught, DeTour Area Schools/DATA Mr. Mark Pavloski, Rudyard Area Schools
Mr. Joshua Reed, Engadine Consolidated Schools Mr. Don Gustafson, St. Ignace Area Schools
Dr. Theresa Kallstrom, JKL Bahweting Anishnabe PSA Dr. Tim Hall, Sault Ste. Marie Area Public Schools
Mrs. Susie Schlehuber, Lake Superior Academy Mrs. Stacy Price, Tahquamenon Area Schools
Mr. Randy Schaedig, Les Cheneaux Community Schools Mrs. Rachel Bommarito, Three Lakes Academy
Mr. Robert Lohff, Mackinac Island Public Schools Mr. Tom McKee, Whitefish Township Comm. Schools
Mrs. Amy Lester, Moran Township School District