District Updates 7/30/20 

Dear Families,

In last Friday’s email, I shared that we may be making adjustments to the start of the year calendar and the schools’ daily schedule. This week we finalized those adjustments. The calendar adjustments will allow us to ease back into school as we learn and adjust our routines to meet the new safety requirements and protocols. Additionally, it will provide our schools times during the first week to debrief their building level plans to see what is working well and what needs attention. The calendar adjustments are as follows:

  • Wednesday, August 19: Half day of school
  • Thursday, August 20, Half day of school
  • Friday, August 21, Half day of school
  • Friday, August 28, No School
  • Friday, May, 28, Full day of school

With these adjustments, we will not return to a full five day a week school schedule until the week of September 14. We feel that this gradual start to the school year will significantly benefit our students and staff. In exchange for having Friday, August 28, off, we will need to add one day to the end of the school year, ending school on Friday, May 28 instead of Thursday, May 27. You can view the revised School Year Calendar at a Glance at https://bit.ly/2B9v7FN.

The daily schedule adjustments will affect students at the secondary level as we move to a block schedule. This model will allow us to reduce daily student to student, and student to staff contact, reduce the number of classrooms a student is in each day, and reduce the number of passing times. To view a sample of what this will look like at the middle school please visit https://bit.ly/2X7YlwI, and for the high school please visit https://bit.ly/39HjWBa. Our secondary principals are working with their building-level teams to finalize the details of this and will share them with families in the near future. While this structure has been brought about very quickly to provide a safer environment, this model will offer some exciting instructional opportunities.

Highlander Virtual Enrollment Deadline
The deadline to enroll in Highlander Virtual is Monday, August 3, at noon. I know that we are asking you to make tough decisions about your child’s education in a short amount of time. However, to effectively staff both Highlander Virtual and our school buildings, this deadline is needed. To learn more about Highlander Virtual, please visit https://bit.ly/3fXgAwj. To enroll your child in Highlander Virtual, please visit https://bit.ly/30xh5Xo. If you plan to have your child return to in-person learning, you do not need to take any action.

Facial Coverings Update
To help ensure the safety of our students, families, and staff, we are revising our Return to School Plan regarding facial coverings at the elementary level to include “Additionally, for the safety of our elementary students, staff, and families, facial coverings may be required for both elementary staff and students when in very close proximity to each other.” Close proximity does not mean that students will need to wear a mask at all times. However, students may be asked to wear them during small group instructional times or a one-on-one meeting.

Additionally, the Governor’s Office has released an FAQ regarding the facial coverings requirements outlined in Michigan’s MI Safe Schools Roadmap. According to the FAQ, “A facial covering is cloth material that covers the nose and mouth. Facial coverings may be secured to the head or simply wrapped around the lower face. They can be made of a variety of materials, such as cotton or linen, and may be factory-made or made by hand.” The FAQ goes on to state that a face shield is not a replacement for a face mask. This language is contrary to the guidance we had received from the Livingston County Health Department. However, we must follow the direction of the Governor’s Office.

I know that we have shared an overwhelming amount of information in the past week; however, we are doing so to be as transparent as possible with all of our return to school planning. We will continue to update the FAQ on our Return to School webpage at HowellSchools.com/RTS. Additionally, we recorded the Question and Answer session I held on Tuesday and have posted it on the Return to School website. You can also access the recording at https://bit.ly/3gh2gij.

As always, thank you for your continued support, partnership, and understanding as we work together through a very challenging time. #OneHowell.

Erin J. MacGregor, Ed.S.
Howell Public Schools

Posted by gouldt On Thu, Jul 30, 2020 at 6:08 PM  

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