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July 1, 2020 Update
Hello Panther Family!
As many of you are likely aware, the governor's MI Safe Schools Return to School Roadmap was released yesterday, Tuesday, June 30th.
You will note that there are 63 pages of guidance and requirements, so there is a great deal for us to unpack and consider, and a great deal of work that will need to be done by our school district, and by all school districts across the state, over the next 2 months. Our goal at Pickford Schools is, and has been, to safely bring students back to in-person instruction in our school building for school year 2020-21.
We are being required to prepare 3 different plans with varying levels of recommendations/restrictions. This will take us some time, and not all plans will include components that all stakeholders will agree on. There are a few considerations that I would ask everyone to keep in mind as we move forward:
1. Everyone agrees, at both the state and district level, that students are best served by in-person instruction with a classroom teacher. This is our default school operating status at this time. Concurrently, we will need to develop options for those students who are not able or willing to return to the school building, due to health issues, family situations, or other reasons. We will need to have options for all of our students.
2. Currently the UP is in "phase 5" of the MI Safe Start plan. This is the area of the Roadmap document that we will be working from. If our status changes, we will be forced to look at different levels of requirements and recommendations. Safety protocols are often a source of differing opinions. We will do what we are required to do by the state in regard to personal protective equipment. Recommendations will be discussed by our district team and decisions made based on student safety, as well as on input from parents, students, staff, and community.
3. At the same time as this public health crisis, we have a financial crisis going on at the state level that will negatively impact our local district funding. We are hopeful that additional federal aid will be approved so that our students' education is not harmed. This additional federal aid needs to include not simply funding to make up for lost state aid (primarily sales tax and income tax revenue loss during the pandemic), but also funding to address personal protection equipment (PPE) and catch-up learning needs that have resulted from the extended closure. Please consider calling or writing your state legislators and members of Congress to express your support of maintaining funds to educate our students and maintain our programs.
4. We do want input -- from parents, students, staff, and community. While we will not be able to make everyone happy, especially since there is such diversity of opinion on many topics related to the COVID pandemic, we will try our best to accommodate the majority consensus while still working within the parameters of the plan and preparing to keep our students safe. Please take time, if you have not already, to complete the stakeholder survey
before it closes at midnight on July 12th. We are pleased to see that we already have 72 responses. Also, be on the lookout for an announcement of a community forum to be held in the near future. This meeting will allow the Board and administrative team to hear parent, staff, and community input. Details will be sent out once a date and time are determined.
5. With so much to consider, so many requirements to meet, and the need to develop a plan that will reflect the desires and preferences of our school community, while still providing for the safety of our students and staff, we want to stress that none of this is easy work. We ask for your continued patience and understanding. The safety and education of our district's students are of the highest priority. We will do our very best to provide for both.
Thank you to all of you who show such outstanding support to our school district. Please contact me with any questions, ideas, or concerns by email email@example.com or by phone (906)647-6285 ext. 2204.
Take care, be well, and enjoy the sunshine! Have a safe and happy 4th of July weekend.
March 19, 2020 Update
March 13, 2020
Dear Panther Families,
As you are all well aware, last night, Governor Whitmer announced the mandatory closing of all Michigan K-12 public and private schools, effective Monday, March 16th through Sunday, April 5th to slow the spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan. Our district has closely monitored all information and recommendations that have been circulated by the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have also continued to be in close contact with the Chippewa County Health Department throughout this past week. All cleaning/disinfecting, communication and information sharing, and prevention strategies have been put into place as they have been recommended to us.
We understand that this extended closure will be a hardship for all involved: students, parents, staff and community. We will continue to work together to find solutions for several issues. Here are a few things that we already have in place:
Ongoing access to academic content/skill practice --All Students in grades 4th-12th will be encouraged to bring their laptops/chromebooks home. We have completed a student survey today to attempt to determine levels of internet access across our district and by our students. It is possible that additional resources will become available to try to boost that connectivity, but those plans are still in initial stages and dependent upon other entities. A resource page is being created on the District website that will list specific websites and resources by grade span. These resources are intended to provide students with opportunities to practice learned skills and investigate content appropriate to current classroom curriculum. Some teachers may also load content into their Google Classrooms or push out resources via Class Dojo. If your child’s teacher regularly utilizes one of these platforms, please check to see what is available. We will attempt to notify as resources are added. Offline resources are also available. Some classroom teachers sent skill practice and enrichment packets home with their students today. If you are concerned about finding resources for a student at a particular grade level or within a particular content area, please let us know.
Grading -- At this point, all teaching staff have been asked to ensure that all assignments are graded and entered into their gradebook as soon as possible so students are aware of any missing work. It is likely that we will extend quarter 3 into quarter 4 and give a semester grade (end of the year) only. This is still an open discussion, so no final decisions have been made.
Meals/Food Service -- We are working very hard to ensure the families have meals during the mandatory school closure issued by Gov. Whitmer. A survey entitled “Free School Meals” has been created and can be accessed on the home page of the district website https://pickford.eupschools.org/. This survey will allow us to collect information (CONFIDENTIALLY) from families who would like to receive free meals for their children during this closure. Meals will be dropped off at student residences by our bus drivers. Delivery dates are yet to be determined. Please watch for announcements on Facebook and via our School Messenger system regarding dates and times, along with more specific details.
School Access -- The building will be locked during this closure. Administrative and other essential staff will report to work. All teaching, support, and coaching staff will continue to have building access, but are asked to limit their presence in the building due to the cleaning and disinfecting work that will be occurring. There will be NO school sponsored activities, student extra curricular events, or athletic practices (including open gym or weight room access) during this closure period.
Please remember that the best prevention for viruses, such as influenza, the common cold or COVID-19 is to:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- If you are sick, stay home, and avoid contact with others.
Statewide, citizens are being asked to avoid large assemblages and events. Remember that individuals can carry the virus without exhibiting any symptoms, but could pass it on to others who may be more susceptible, especially those with weakened immune systems and the elderly. The latest information on COVID-19 is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus. Families are encouraged to check email, watch for notifications from the Pickford Schools app, and monitor our social media accounts for ongoing updates specific to Pickford Public Schools.
Let’s work together to keep our families and community safe and healthy. Thank you to our Panther family and the Pickford Community for your patience and flexibility as we navigate through this unprecedented event. If you have questions, please contact me directly (906) 647-6285 ext. 2204 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mrs. Angela Nettleton
Phone: 906-647-6285 ext. 2204