On behalf of the Board of Education, thank you to the dedicated staff members who made 2020 successful despite the most unusual of tragedies befalling our country. And, thank you to our partners at home who assisted in navigating the content gaps, technology hurdles, and who lent a few shoulders to hold the head of a young person missing friends or freaking out because they see full inboxes early in the morning or thought they attached the document in the email to the teacher.
If it seemed almost too much to handle, I have some good news. WLPS is working on its Return to Learn plan. I am confident we will have in-person instruction for all grades starting August 31. More on that below.
First, I want to share some information with the Class of 2020.
We have set a date of Sunday, June 28 at 2:00 pm for our ceremony. I am meeting with students and staff to prepare this special day. Given the likelihood that large gatherings will still be restricted within our buildings, a combination of a parade and an outdoor commencement will take place. I hope to finalize the details of the ceremony next week.
Caps and Gowns
In preparation for graduation, Cap and Gown Pick up is scheduled for next week: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. See the Senior Materials Return List for guidelines and details.
The work done by the Whitmore Lake Community Scholarship Fund did not stop during the Stay Home order. Many students in the Class of 2020 earned merits and scholarships. These students will be highlighted in a virtual celebration the week of June 15.
Return to Learn: In-Person Instruction in 2020-21
The Governor’s reopening plans (Safe Start) have put Michigan in various phases relative to COVID-19 containment and recovery. Currently, we reside in Phase 3 while Phase 4 is being evaluated. A move to Phase 5 would allow for the reopening of K-12 buildings. As in-person instruction is critical to our district’s mission, I am planning on working with our staff and regional partners to bring kids back into our buildings for the 2020-21 school year should Phase 5 become reality. And, I’m confident we are on a trajectory to Phase 5 in the coming months.
Even in Phases 5 and 6, there will, of course, be new protocols for proper and safe hygiene. Our aim is to provide a safe environment for our students and staff. We will be evaluating our space and movement patterns for distancing, cleaning and disinfecting more frequently, taking temperatures more regularly, and greatly reducing shared devices and materials.
There will have to be some options for parents who cannot send their children to school for health reasons. This will include the continued use of distance learning. Although, it will likely be packaged differently so our teachers can move in and out of it more seamlessly. We are confident we have the talent and resources to make this a reality.
A complete Return to Learn plan will be presented for review and comment prior to the start of the school year. WLPS has created a survey that will guide some of our early decision-making and will email it to all families later today. Please take a moment to complete it.
I know many of you have questions about our plan which is still being developed. I will host a Zoom meeting next week with the purpose of trying to address any immediate concerns our parents might have about next year. It is limited to 100 people, but it will be recorded and shared afterward.
Tom DeKeyser’s Zoom Meeting Q and A Thursday, June 4 at 11:00AM. Click HERE to join
Finally, I usually sign off with a positive message about enjoying time with family as our summer break begins soon. But we’ve had a lot of family time in the past few months. So, enjoy a moment to yourself. Then, go back to your family and put away all technology for a day. Make that day a great day to be a Trojan.