Lapeer Community Schools will begin the 2020-21 school year with full-time virtual instruction for all students starting September 8, 2020. This is a departure from the Return to School plan approved by the LCS Board of Education earlier this month, which included a return to face-to-face instruction for all students on August 31.
The goal, moving forward, is to begin offering phased-in face-to-face instruction starting October 5.
In spite of rigorous safety precautions embedded in the Plan, concerns remain regarding the large number of individuals in a building at one time and the inability to limit movement throughout the building. Because of this, the timing was not right to return to face-to-face instruction as outlined in the Plan. In addition, it became necessary to push back the start date in order to re-tool for full-time virtual learning. Fortunately, guidance released this week by the Michigan Department of Education grants school districts significantly more flexibility in designing modified face-to-face return plans that can happen in a phased-in approach. This allows students to continue to experience some face-to-face interaction with fewer students in the building.
“This new timeline presents the District with a unique opportunity to gradually move forward toward our goal,” said LCS Superintendent Matt Wandrie. “As you can imagine, our focus this summer has primarily been on returning our students to the classroom. In order to make a change of this magnitude late in the game, we needed a little more time.”
As the District continues to ramp up toward face-to-face instruction, our buildings will still be open for business. The following resources will be available to students and parents during the interim full-time virtual period:
- Students will be permitted to attend Ed-Tech in-person (District will provide transportation)
- Staff will be available during normal work hours to serve as resources for students
- Approved afterschool activities and athletics (under MHSAA guidelines) will still be permitted
The Return to School plan’s policies and procedures for Phase 4 with respect to health and safety will remain in place, including those requiring the use of masks for students and staff.
“Our earnest goal, all along, was to give our students and parents normalcy, by offering the opportunity for all students to return to the classroom,” Wandrie said. “Even though our plan has been pushed back a month, our commitment to returning students to the classroom remains as strong as ever.”
Summer Putnam, President of the Lapeer Community Schools Board of Education, said the collective focus of the District must be on what’s best for students and working together to get them back where they belong.
“We know how important this is to so many of our parents – I’m one of them,” she said. “I hope everyone in this community understands that the leaders in this organization continue to do everything we can to achieve this goal. Now, we must turn our attention to giving our students the best experience possible in the online environment while we continue to prepare for a return to the classroom.”
The District’s virtual learning plan will be in effect until the planned October 5 transition to phased-in face-to-face instruction. The plan, which was crafted in preparation for the possibility of the region regressing to Phase 3, will be more comprehensive and robust than what students and parents experienced in the spring.
All orientations, open houses and registrations scheduled for the week of August 24 will still be held as scheduled. The week of August 31 will be used to prepare our teaching staff for the rollout of virtual learning. The District will also bring students into school in smaller groups starting September 8 in order to get them on board with the full-time virtual curriculum.
Next week, the District will release detailed information regarding student schedules and the virtual learning plan. We will continue to keep students and parents informed throughout this transition and to offer support services to keep our students engaged in the process.
For more information, e-mail Jared Field, Director of Communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org.