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Superintendent Update on COVID-19

Frequently Asked Questions concerning the three-week school dsitrict closure, due to the COVID-19 virus. 

 

March 13, 2020

Good Afternoon LPS Families, 

We thank you for your patience as our district and school administrators continue to discuss and plan for the state-mandated closure announced last night by Governor Whitmer. 

 

First and foremost, we want to acknowledge the very unique circumstances of this global issue, followed by the extended closure of schools by the state.  We understand this poses a challenge for our families, and impacts the students entrusted to us.  Together, we will look to support our school community as we move forward these coming days.  

 

We know that you have many questions. We will address most, but there are a few outstanding issues on which we are awaiting further guidance. Please remain engaged with us and watch your email inbox for future updates from the district.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is the exact time frame for the state-mandated closure?

Governor Whitmer ordered all schools close starting Monday, March 16 through Sunday, April 5. Reopening on Monday, April 6. 

 

LPS spring break is scheduled for April 6-10, will the district close during that week as well? 

This is a question that is still being addressed. The governor urged districts to move their spring breaks to fit within the mandated closure window, and we are gathering more clarification on this. We realize that many parents, students and staff have made significant financial investments in their spring break travel plans. We also understand the state has requirements of our schools, thus we want to seek a clear understanding before finalizing the return date to school.  We will update you as soon as possible. 

 

Will we have an extended school year, due to the closure? 

We are not anticipating this, however, that could change with many factors being out of the district’s control during this unprecedented time. 

 

Are all school buildings closed for all activities and events?

Yes. This includes off-site sports practices, outside facility rentals and all school-based activities and events. No exceptions. The MHSAA has outlined clear guidelines for all student athletic activities.  

 

What about the larger events such as prom and out-of-state field trips that are planned for later this spring? 

We know that these are very special events for our students.  Therefore, we do not want to make a premature cancellation without more definitive information.  We will have to wait and see how long the mandated closure will last and then go from there.  

 

What if my child needs to pick up personal items from the school? 

We realize that the closure did not allow our students and staff the opportunity to gather their personal belongings. We will have one open time frame during which students and parents may briefly stop by the schools to collect items they may need. This includes student medications (to be picked up only by parents/guardians). 

 

The open hours will be from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. on Monday, March 16. Please use the front vestibule entrance only.  After that time, we will not be allowing entrance into the schools, due to the ongoing deep cleaning that will be taking place.  We are seeking to keep the schools as disinfected and sanitized as possible for student and staff return.   If there is a hardship in accessing needed medications, please notify your student’s principal via email. If you have duplicate medications at home, please consider leaving the medications at the school for use upon student return. 

 

Will my child be expected to do online learning or classroom homework during the closure? 

In keeping with federal equal access laws, the district will not be requiring online academic instruction. The Michigan Department of Education has been clear in their guidelines related to equal access for all students, and it is our intention to follow these guidelines carefully.

 

We will, however, provide families with a number of resource and enrichment resources that students may access and utilize during the closure, in order to stay engaged and active.  Please look for this information to come to you on Monday, as we are finalizing the information for each grade level band.  See below for computer access.  

 

Optional printed resources for students accessing the Essential Elements curriculum are available at the schools. These are enrichment resources and are optional. The resources will be organized by grade level bands and content areas. 

 

What if my child does not have a computer at home? 

If your child is in need of a device to utilize at home, Chromebooks will be available for check-out on Monday, March 16 during the item pick-up hours of 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. at your child’s school.  Please be aware that the Chromebooks will not function as video game devices and student log-in credentials will be required, just as they are during normal school days.   We will ask them to check out the Chromebook and power cord, then return upon arrival to school.  

 

How can I keep my child on track, academically, during this closure? 

Read. Read. Read. Additionally, we are assembling a list of optional educational resources for parents and students to access reading and enrichment materials from various online sources. We encourage our students to read books that they may have on hand at home and utilize the online sources to keep their reading skills sharp while we are away from school. Encourage your students to journal or write short stories -- these can be fun ways to pass the afternoons. Research STEM activities to explore and be sure to log into the sites we will provide for you.  Watch for a list of resources early next week. 

 

I know that many LPS families depend on school meals being provided for their children during the school day.  Is there a plan for providing food during the closure? 

Yes, this is an important resource we want to provide to our families and are currently working hard to coordinate this process.  We are working on a plan to be able to provide food for families who currently receive free or reduced-price meals and will send further communication once the details are firm.  Please look for this early next week.  

 

I have my children enrolled in School Aged Child Care (SACC) for before and after school care. Now, I am now facing additional childcare expenses during the closure. Is the district considering offering relief for families who have pre-paid their SACC tuition? 

Yes. We are cognizant that childcare costs could be a factor for many of our families. SACC parents will be updated on the specific plans in the near future, but be assured that you will not be charged SACC fees during the closure. We want to do what we can to alleviate this burden for our families.  

 

Aren’t we supposed to receive our elementary student report cards soon?

Yes. However, they will be a bit delayed and will be available for view on Parent Connect on Wednesday, March 25. We will not be printing and mailing the reports for this marking period. We realize this is a change for elementary parents. You should have your Parent Connect log-in information saved from the beginning of the school year when you checked your students’ classroom teacher assignments. 

 

I’m not certain how to access Parent Connect. 

There is a Parent Connect link on every school website, under Quick Links, and also under the Parents tab. We have attached a PC tip sheet to this email. 

 

What if we are expecting special education progress reports? 

Reports will be emailed to parents the morning of March 25 by the case provider. 

 

We want to help.  What can my child or I do for our school community during the closure? 

Remain engaged by frequently checking your email inbox. Check out the various donation opportunities that are posted on Facebook. Some great ideas are starting to come together to assist families in need during this crisis. We have noticed babysitting provider lists of high school students who are willing to help working parents; food drop-off information; resources and more. Throughout the day today we were touched by the kindness of so many in our community looking to assist others...our community is truly amazing!

 

Not surprisingly, my child seems anxious about all that is happening. What can I do to help alleviate the fears? 

This is a great question. We have attached a list of resources for parents. Please take a moment to review the information. Additional resources for general assistance can be found here Community Resources.

 

During these coming weeks, we hope you and your family remain healthy and safe.  We look forward to the return of our LPS students and staff and will keep you updated in the days ahead.  

 

Thank you for your partnership with us,

 

Andrea Oquist

Superintendent


 

 

This message from Superintendent Andrea Oquist was sent to all LPS families on March 11, 2020.

Good Evening LPS Families,

As a follow-up to our prior communication regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) and how this public health concern could affect our school community, we wanted to take a few moments to provide additional information to our families.  

This evening, the governor issued State Recommended Community Mitigation Strategies for school districts, businesses and other organizations, based on the known cases in the state of Michigan. This guidance included cancelling or postponing non-essential activities and gatherings of more than 100 people. 

In accordance with these guidelines, parent/teacher conferences at the high school level will be cancelled for tomorrow evening. As always, parents are encouraged to contact their child’s teacher(s) with questions or concerns regarding student academic progress. 

Moving forward, principals will communicate with their school communities on other school event cancellations or postponements, through spring break. These decisions will be based on the state guidelines regarding large scale gatherings. 

Our school district leadership has been in regular contact with local, county and state officials and will continue this close communication. Based on the guidelines from the county and the state, there are currently no plans for school closures in our district. 

Be assured that thorough cleaning and deep sanitization continues to take place on an ongoing basis across the district. Our maintenance and operations staff has been working tirelessly in this regard. Additionally, our school bus fleet is being sanitized as part of our ongoing cleaning protocol. 

It’s important that we remain positive with our children and empower them to use recommended hygiene practices. It is also key that we curtail the spread of misinformation and keep the lines of communication open between our schools and our families. We pledge, as always, to keep you informed and we appreciate your partnership.

Sincere regards,

Andrea Oquist

Superintendent