The following is a letter to year-round parents and staff from LCS Superintendent Matt Wandrie, dated July 20, 2020.
Year-Round parents and staff —
As we made clear in our last communication, district leadership have been hard at work over the last several months preparing to return to in-person instruction during these very challenging times. It bears repeating: we desperately want our students and staff back in school. Because the District offers the year-round calendar, accomplishing this goal carries with it the added constraint of being ready to start school just one week from today — and a full month or more before the majority of school districts in the state.
Throughout this process, we’ve been honest about the difficult situation we find ourselves in: striking the right balance between what we desire and what we can accommodate in our present circumstances. Given the many variables outside of our control and without any compelling reason to believe our region will remain in Phase 4 (in-person instruction permitted) for an extended period of time, we have elected to suspend the year-round calendar for the 2020-21 school year. All students and staff will follow the traditional calendar for the 2020-21 school year. The first day of school is August 31, 2020.
This is an extremely difficult decision, and one that was made on the basis of many known and unknown factors. In order to best support the needs of students and staff, it is beneficial to have everyone experience the same type of learning environment at the same time. We did not want to put students and staff in a position in which they would unnecessarily fluctuate between in-person and virtual learning in advance of our traditional calendar students.
Keep in mind that the general structure of the year-round program at the middle school level will remain the same (including teachers), although students will now be on the same calendar as the other students in the building. Click here to see the traditional calendar for the 2020-21 school year.
We understand that many of you had hoped that we could return next week, and we shared that hope. We further understand that, for many parents, this delay in the start of school is a challenge with regard to childcare. The District currently has open spots for childcare at Kids & Company. For more information, call (810) 667-2454. The Summer Care hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. We also recognize this decision may have a negative impact on vacation plans for our year-round staff and families. We will work with individual families if this change in calendar creates a conflict with something your family already had scheduled. These are just a couple of the many factors that have made this decision incredibly difficult.
The District has been monitoring all Coronavirus-related variables for weeks, in order to make the most informed decision on this issue, with the prospect that we could continue to offer this choice. Ultimately, this decision will provide the District with another month to determine our next steps — and perhaps a bit more certainty than we have today. As stated above, the signs seem to be pointing in the wrong direction where that is concerned but we will continue to stay on top of the latest developments.
Rest assured that the health and safety of our students and staff is the number one consideration in every decision we make. We will continue to keep you posted as we progress toward our new goal: bringing back our students and staff, in-person, for the first day of school on August 31. That said, we have a plan in place to return to full-time virtual instruction if the region returns to Phase 3 (in-person instruction prohibited) or lower. Since the onset of the pandemic, we have had a significant opportunity to develop a more robust virtual program than what we were able to offer in the spring and we will continue that work throughout the summer.
Finally, it is important for parents to understand that your child’s spot in the year-round program is secure. Our intention is to offer the year-round calendar in the 2021-22 school year; so, if you have a spot today, you will have a spot next school year.
Once again, we are grateful for your patience and your continued feedback as we navigate this new challenge.