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Urgent News

Update Center

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information


July 23, 2020

Dear Parents,

As we draw closer to the beginning of the school year, I want to update you on a few items. One item we want to bring to your attention is four virtual town hall meetings. During each one, we will be discussing our reopening plans. Also of note, is our instructional plans and operational topics outlined below. Finally, I would like to update you on our increase in technology throughout the district.

Instruction
In the near future, we will be sending out communication regarding our return to school plans and the various options that you will have regarding the education of your child. These options will be available to any enrolled HPS student during Phases 4-6 of the Governor's Return to School Plan. While we remain in Phase 4 of reopening, there is a chance that the state might move us to Phase 3 prior to the start of school. If that were to happen, we will surely send out communication regarding remote learning plans for all students (as clarified in my last communication). The Hudsonville task force members have been working throughout the summer on instructional plans and operational plans to meet the needs of our staff and students. From an instructional side of things, our families will have the following options:

1.     In-Person Instruction: This would constitute a regular school day with extra protocols put in place to keep our students and staff safe. Many of the day-to-day operational tasks will be tweaked. Students who become ill during in-person instruction would transition to a continuation of learning plan, similar to what teachers have done in the past when a student becomes ill and is out of their class for a certain period of time. If a student is not able to return to class for health reasons, based on the time of the year, they may be able to transition to online instruction (#2 below).

2.     Online Instruction: This would be for families of students who cannot return or don’t feel safe to be in a classroom or public setting. These students will remain in their online classroom for the trimester (high school) or semester (elementary and middle school). These students would receive a curriculum that mirrors HPS curriculum, but is provided from a third-party vendor (Michigan Virtual for secondary - UofM Roadmaps for elementary). Students will be supported through this curriculum by a Hudsonville teacher. There will be different groups of teachers supporting online and in-person instruction (i.e., a different teacher than #1 above). 

3.     Homeschooling: Parents may choose to homeschool their child. If selected, the student is no longer a Hudsonville student. The curriculum and instructor are out of our jurisdiction. Any student who wishes to return to Hudsonville following a homeschool experience will be assessed and placed in the appropriate grade (not necessarily an advancement of their current grade level). Based on Michigan Merit Curriculum requirements, families with a high school student may enroll in electives as a homeschool student if they are resident of the district. If a high school student who is homeschooled enrolls in electives, they are then eligible for participation in co-curriculars.

Town Hall Meetings
While you will be provided with additional information regarding the above options, we will be holding four town hall meetings to provide detailed information, and also have time to address some questions you may have. These meetings will be virtual and take place at the following dates/times:

Elementary focus: (Alward, Bauer, Georgetown, Park)
•Tuesday, August 4, from 6:00PM to 7:00PM

Middle School focus: 
•Tuesday, August 4, from 7:30PM to 8:30PM

High School focus: 
•Wednesday, August 5, from 6:00PM to 7:00PM

Elementary focus: (Forest Grove, Jamestown Lower, Jamestown Upper, South)
•Wednesday, August 5, from 7:30PM to 8:30PM

Links to these meetings will be available on our website prior to the start of the meeting.

Operations
From an operational perspective, our leadership team has been working on operations and procedures to help you navigate each and every day. The State of Michigan has been very clear within the MI Return to School Roadmap that in order to return to school in a face-to-face capacity with students, schools MUST follow the requirements outlined in the plan and implement as many strongly recommended and recommended items as possible. Here are some of the many items our team has been working on to clarify the expectations:

1.     Face Coverings: To be worn by all staff, students in grades K-5 when outside of the classroom, and students in grades 6-12 throughout the entire day (except when eating).
2.     Classrooms: Clarifying arrangement of the room, signage, cleaning protocols, specials, and airflow throughout the rooms.
3.     Hallways: Signage, hand-sanitization, and social distancing.
4.     Playgrounds: PK-5th only - commingling vs. social distancing.
5.     Food Service: Lunch arrangements, food distribution, and the number of lunches.
6.     Visitors: No visitors or volunteers during phase 4.
7.     Staff/Student Illness: This will be developed with the support of the health department and we anticipate that information being available late this week or early next.
8.     Extracurricular Activities: Proper hygiene, cleaning of equipment, indoor and outdoor activities.

This information, along with detailed information will be sent to all staff members as soon as we receive approval. 

Technology
Through the CARES Act, districts are provided federal dollars that can solely be spent on COVID-19 related expenses. With these funds, Hudsonville Public Schools has purchased an extensive amount of PPE (masks, cleaning materials, face shields, plexiglass dividers, hand sanitizer, etc.). Based on the unknown number of students choosing face-to-face instruction or online, we are also in the process of purchasing a large number of student devices to accommodate various instructional methods (whether they get sick or choose an online path as described above). While we have a great deal of work to do to prepare for these devices, here is our district’s current plan to move to a 1:1 environment. Please note that this will look different at each level throughout our district, and this plan might take several months to fully implement. Based on grade levels, here is our initial plan:

Grades 9-12: These students would have the opportunity to bring their own device to school. Those who do not have access to a personal device will be provided a device by the district. Students who utilize a district device will be returning them at the end of the year. Students will be expected to take these devices to/from school/home on a daily basis.

Grade 6-8: These students will be provided with a district device. These students will be expected to take these devices to/from school/home on a daily basis.

Grades 3-5: At this point, it might take some time to get devices into the hands of these students, but our intent will be to provide district devices (over time) to each student. These devices will stay in their classrooms (in a cart), and not travel home on a daily basis. 

Grades K-2: As we progress through the school year we will be exploring the best devices for these students. While we will be purchasing Chromebooks for grades 3-12, we might explore devices that are more appropriate for some of our youngest learners. We will seek feedback from staff as we progress down this path.

Additional information regarding parent/student expectations, insurance, technology support, etc. will be forthcoming.

We realize there are more conversations to be had regarding these additional devices, but we know they will provide a positive impact on our student's learning in and out of the classroom.

Sincerely,

Dr. VanderJagt
Superintendent


Keep Explanations Age Appropriate

  • Early elementary school children need brief, simple information that should balance COVID-19 facts with appropriate reassurances that their schools and homes are safe and that adults are there to help keep them healthy and to take care of them if they do get sick. Give simple examples of the steps people take every day to stop germs and stay healthy, such as washing hands. Use language such as “adults are working hard to keep you safe.”
  • Upper elementary and early middle school children will be more vocal in asking questions about whether they truly are safe and what will happen if COVID-19 comes to their school or community. They may need assistance separating reality from rumor and fantasy. Discuss efforts of school and community leaders to prevent germs from spreading.
  • Upper middle school and high school students are able to discuss the issue in a more in-depth (adult-like) fashion and can be referred directly to appropriate sources of COVID-19 facts. Provide honest, accurate, and factual information about the current status of COVID-19. Having such knowledge can help them feel a sense of control.

Suggested Points to Emphasize When Talking to Children

  • Adults at home and school are taking care of your health and safety. If you have concerns, please talk to an adult you trust.
  • Not everyone will get the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease. School and health officials are being especially careful to make sure as few people as possible get sick.
  • It is important that all students treat each other with respect and not jump to conclusions about who may or may not have COVID-19.

There are things you can do to stay health and avoid spreading the disease:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water (20 seconds).
  • If you don’t have soap, use hand sanitizer (60–95% alcohol based).
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Dr. Doug VanderJagt

[email protected] Superintendent, District

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Additional resources

Provided by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Preventions:

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