Covid - 19 updates


4/3/20

 

Hello Blue Devils,

We learned on Thursday that Michigan schools will remain closed through the remainder of the school year. And while this information is very disappointing to us all, it is imperative that we accept this challenge with grace and determination. This is not the end of the school year anyone envisioned. Parents have been thrust into the role of teacher. Teachers have had to learn and adjust to leading learning without a classroom. Students are isolated from one another and have lost out on much that school has to offer. I feel particularly bad for our seniors. For them, this is a particularly difficult time as they have lost out on experiences including prom, a class trip, spring sports, and perhaps a traditional graduation ceremony. Seniors and your families, please know that the Board of Education, Ms. Wilson and I are committed to celebrating your accomplishments. In the coming weeks we will be discussing what that might look like and will keep you posted. You are a special group in so many ways and you’ve certainly left your mark on Lawton High School.

In this difficult time, I’ve reflected on the words of Linda Cliatt-Wayman who was a principal of an inner city school facing very significant challenges. In the face of adversity, her words to her people were simple: “so what, now what”. What she was saying is that we know we are facing challenges. We can’t change or control that. We can’t wave a magic wand and make this go away. Rather we should focus on what we can control – our individual and collective response to the challenge.

So, how do we respond? First of all and most importantly, we listen to the public health experts and observe the guidelines they’ve provided. Secondly, we turn the challenges into opportunities. We accept what we can’t control and do our very best to become better people. For our students, this means committing time each day to learning. It means focusing on improving our minds, bodies and relationships. We stay in touch with friends but we do so from a distance. I know it isn’t easy but it can and must be done.

As of April 2, students had been out of school for 15 consecutive days. We all entered into this situation very suddenly with very little time to prepare. I commend our leadership, teachers and staff for their work and our parents for doing the very best you can to support your children. Given the Executive Order, schools and teachers will need time to decide how best to proceed. To help us with that planning, we will soon distribute a survey asking parents for input on learning expectations and technology access. You can expect to see that survey sometime next week.

Friday April 3, was supposed to mark the start of our Spring Break. And while travel or vacation plans are not an option, I do encourage our teachers and families to unplug for the week and focus on your family. Do what you can to stay happy and healthy. Reading is always a great choice. Find safe places for family walks. Put the devices down and have meaningful conversations.

On Monday April 13, all students are to resume the learning activities their teachers have provided. During this week, with ISD guidance, teachers will begin working to develop a long-term learning plan for all students. The plans must meet very specific state guidelines. The plans will outline specific expectations, supports and resources for students in all buildings and grade levels. The state has given schools until April 28 to complete their plans which must be submitted for ISD approval. It is our goal to complete our plan prior to April 28 if possible. Details of those plans will be shared as they are created.

Until further notice, meals will continue to be distributed on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in the designated community locations.

As always, feel free to reach out to me with any questions you may have.

Stay healthy, stay safe.

Chris Rice - Superintendent


LCS Update 3/24/2020

 

LCS School Family,

I hope this update finds you and your family happy and healthy. As we are all aware, the Governor has issued a stay home order for all Michigan residents. The order does allow some exceptions for critical infrastructure. At the school district level, we are restricting our definition of critical infrastructure to food service staff, bus drivers delivering meals, certain administrative work, and custodial work as needed to maintain buildings. All building offices are closed and will remain closed through the term of the Governor’s order. Those who are able to work remotely are doing so.

During her Monday press conference, the Governor stopped short of providing specific guidance to schools regarding days of instruction and possible forgiveness. We are expecting to receive education specific information from the Governor and the State Superintendent of Instruction in the coming days. Until that information is received, we will continue to support student learning as we have for the past several days. As new information is received, we will respond accordingly. To our seniors and their families, all indications are that getting you to graduation on time will be a priority moving forward.

Food service has been identified as critical infrastructure and schools have been strongly encouraged to continue this important community service. I am concerned about the strain on our food service department and am thankful to the many people who have offered to help. For now, we will continue to prepare and serve meals daily in the designated locations. However, in an attempt to protect the health of those who are preparing, serving and delivering meals, changes to our current system are certainly possible. Any changes would be announced at least a day prior to taking effect.

Parents and students are encouraged to take advantage of the food service program. They are also encouraged to continue to remain engaged with educational opportunities provided by teachers. This will end eventually and we want our students to be in the best position possible to resume their studies.

Take good care of yourselves and your families and please contact me with your questions or concerns.

Chris Rice


Friday, March 19, 2020

 

LCS School Family,

Let me begin by expressing my gratitude to our entire school community. Under very unusual and uncertain circumstances, I’ve been incredibly impressed by how people have pulled together. This is particularly tough when we can’t be together. Teachers are doing a fantastic job of trying to provide learning opportunities. Food service has been on the job each day making great sack lunches. Bus drivers are helping deliver those lunches to children around our community. Custodians are thoroughly cleaning our buildings and preparing for the start of construction. Administrators are putting forth great effort to support all of these activities. We are performing these essential functions while also trying to comply with best practice guidelines for hygiene and social distancing.

Understandably, there are a lot of questions surrounding our current situation. Below is a list of those questions and the best answers we currently have.

Will school resume after Spring Break as scheduled? As of today, we’ve received no official notice that the shutdown will be extended. However, based on what we see each day in the media, I would not be surprised if the closure is extended. The plans we have in place are intended to get us through April 2, the scheduled start of Spring Break.

What will teaching and learning look like if the shutdown is extended? If the extension was for a brief period of time, say 1-2 weeks, teaching and learning might be very similar to what we currently have in place. If the shutdown were to last longer, perhaps through the end of the school year, we may have to revisit our current approaches to ensure that learning continues for all students. This will be dependent upon guidance from the Governor and Michigan Department of Education.

How will this impact seniors who are looking toward graduation? Great question without a great answer. Again, we’ll look for guidance from the government here but some possibilities include: modified graduation requirements that focus on core courses, an instructional emphasis on the needs of 12th grade students, and possible rescheduling of the graduation ceremony. Please know that we aren’t giving up hope that a return to normalcy could occur yet this Spring. However, it is prudent to consider all scenarios.

How will this impact athletics? This is governed by the MHSAA who has not yet pulled the plug on either winter post-season tournaments or the spring sports season. I assume that they are waiting to see if the shutdown ends on April 5 or is extended before making these decisions. We feel terrible about lost learning and participation opportunities for all kids including our athletes and coaches

What are the schoolwork expectations for students? Schools in Michigan have been advised by legal council that schoolwork during the shutdown cannot be required for credit. Some teachers may grade some student work simply for feedback but until further notice, work will not be counted for credit. Students (and parents) at all grade levels have been doing a great job of staying engaged with the activities teachers have provided. There is an exception to the credit granting rule. Those high school students who are still working in an online Gradpoint course from the second trimester may continue to work toward completion of that course. Also, high school students who failed a second trimester course and have been assigned a Gradpoint class for credit recovery may continue to work. No new students or new courses will be assigned in Gradpoint until we receive updated guidance.

How long will meal service be provided? Meals will continue to be available for pickup at the designated locations through Thursday April 2. This marks the start of Spring Break and we’ll be sending employees home at that time for a well-deserved break. If the shutdown is extended, we’ll revisit meal service based on guidance from state officials.

If you have a specific question that hasn’t been answered, please direct that to the appropriate teacher or administrator. They are working remotely but are responding to students and parents during the closure. I’m also happy to help you. Feel free to call me at 624-7997 or email at crice@lawtoncs.org. I don’t typically monitor Facebook for questions so phone or email is the best way to reach me.

As a society, we are often at our best when times are worst. Stay healthy. Stay safe.

Chris Rice, Superintendent

CDC Information for:

Covid-19 Fact Sheet from CDC.gov

We can all take preventative measures to minimize the spread of communicable diseases. Health authorities indicate that the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are the same recommendations for preventing the spread of the flu virus. The Michigan Department of Health Human Services advises the following steps can be taken to prevent spread of flu and the common cold that will also help prevent COVID-19, including:

  • Washing your hands with soap and water.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoiding contact with people who are sick.
  • Staying home if you are sick and contact your healthcare provider.

 

Food Information for Lawton & Van Buren County

Van Buren County Breakfast / Lunch Distribution Sites

Sites and times of lunch distribution in Lawton:

  • Porter Township Hall Parking Lot: 12:00 - 12:15 p.m.
  • Frosty Acres neighborhood: 12:00 - 12:15 p.m.
  • Jewell Drive: 12:00 - 12:15 p.m.
  • Village Commons 4th St. Entrance: 11:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
  • Morrill St. Apartments: 12:00 - 12:15 p.m.
  • Crystal Flash, S. LaGrave St.: 12:00 - 12:15 p.m.
  • LHS Cafeteria new Stadium Entrance: 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
  • Please follow our Facebook page as more information to be posted there.