COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information
July 20, 2020 - District's return to learning plans for the 2020-2021 school year
Dear Elk Rapids Families and Community,
This letter serves as an update regarding the district’s return to learning plans for the 2020-2021 school year. Thank you for your responses to the surveys that we have sent to you this summer. The information that you have provided has been very helpful in our planning and preparation.
In March a district Task Force made up of teachers, administrators, director of technology, custodial/maintenance, transportation, and food service departments was created. This Task Force has been planning and preparing to provide safe and educationally sound learning options this fall for students and families at all levels. Using guidelines found in the MI Safe Schools: Michigan’s Return to School Roadmap, Executive Orders, and provided by the local health department, the Task Force is developing safety protocols for the return to learning. These safety protocols will provide directions and expectations for students, staff, and families so that the health and well-being remains the highest of priorities.
The Task Force goals include:
Guiding processes and procedures that maximize the safety of students and staff by minimizing exposure.
Supporting opportunities that best meet the needs of our families and the communities that make up the Elk Rapids School District.
Presenting a return to learning plan that provides long-term consistency to our staff, families and students.
Elk Rapids Schools is committed to providing both face-to-face and fully virtual learning programs at all grade levels. Families will be able to choose the learning program that best meets the needs of their child/children. Whether we are in Phase 4 or Phase 5, of Michigan’s Return to School Roadmap, we have determined that a hybrid schedule is not a viable option. We are planning to return this fall in a face-to-face format 5 days per week. There will be safety protocols for students, staff, and building visitors that will be communicated within the next few weeks. In addition, for those families that choose not to have their child/children return to a face-to-face format, we will be offering comprehensive online learning programs from state approved vendors and administered by Elk Rapids Schools. Elk Rapids High School, Sunrise Academy, and Cherryland Middle School will expand the online learning programs that we have successfully administered for over a decade. Lakeland and Mill Creek Elementary are working with the TBAISD to implement a quality online learning program for K-5 students. The specific details of our online learning programs will be made public soon.
The Task Force expects to complete the ERS Return to Learning Plan by August 8, 2020. The draft of that plan will be shared with staff, families, and the community. Before formal implementation, the Board of Education will approve this plan at a special meeting yet to be determined. The first day of school is a half day for all students on Tuesday, September 8, 2020.
Thank you for your patience and support as we formalize a successful and safe return to school. Do not hesitate to reach out with any questions.
Tom Enslen, Superintendent
Elk Rapids Schools
June 1, 2020 - ER Schools 2020-21 School Intention Survey
June 1, 2020 - ER Schools 2020-21 School Intention Survey
As a school district in these trying times, we are taking a proactive approach to the process of planning for the 2020-2021 school year. While there is much uncertainty regarding what COVID-19 safety restrictions may be put in place, we have decided to plan for three possible instructional models.
The first may be the "traditional" model with daily face-face instruction happening within each building. The second may be a hybrid model that would entail a portion of students attending face-face instruction on school grounds and a portion attending remotely from home. For example, a student may go to school on M/W and attend remotely on T/Th. The third may be a 100% remote learning platform.
We value your insight and concerns as a parent and would appreciate your time in answering a few questions in the attached survey to help guide our planning. Know that quality of education and the safety of our students and staff are of the utmost importance as we move forward toward the coming school year.
April 9, 2020 - Remote Learning Letter and Continuation of Learning Plan
Dear Elk Rapids Parents and Students,
Welcome to a new era in education for Elk Rapids Public Schools! As you likely know, we have been tasked with the unprecedented responsibility of teaching the final 39 days of school in a remote format. Thanks to previous Elk Rapids Schools initiatives and successful bond votes, we are uniquely positioned to accept this challenge. However, just like traditional learning, educators need student and parent commitment to succeed. I hope you will join us on this unique journey to prepare each of our Elk Rapids students for the next step academically.
Each grade level will have slightly different experiences, but the basis for all digital learning will be a platform that organizes and houses student learning. Early Learners and Elementary School teachers will communicate with parents using SeeSaw or Google Classroom. At the
6-12 grade levels, teachers will communicate with students through Google Classroom, email, and Remind text messages which have been used consistently by teachers and students for several years. Our digital communication strategy takes advantage of systems our staff already have in place but also allows us to learn with our community through new tools. Thank you for your early support of a system that continues to provide outstanding learning opportunities!
Elk Rapids educators expect each student to log into their learning platform each weekday and complete the work provided by teachers. For our young learners, parents will play a major role in supporting the learning process. Educators understand this is new territory for some parents! Teachers will send specific directions with assignments along with tips on helping students learn new material. They are only an email away for follow up questions. We will need to work together to help students prepare for the next school year. Your role is invaluable to help your child succeed!
With older students, parental guidance will look different. Older students tend to be more independent, so parents need to play more of a role as a coach and teacher. Like a coach motivates his or her team, students will need to be motivated to learn in this format. Teachers will inspire learning through the lessons they deliver, and parents will need to help students regularly engage in lessons. For this reason, we ask parents to:
● Designate specific learning times in the home. Pick a dedicated block of time for your students to complete school work. Parents should require this learning time to be free from the distractions of social media and their phones.
● We strongly encourage parents to view their student’s Google Classroom accounts and even watch lessons with their students sometimes. This will give a sense of what the lessons are about.
● Both students and parents should email teachers if they have questions. Encourage this dialogue as a parent - soon your young adults will need to engage in dialogue as adults. This is excellent practice!
Teachers will use Zoom, Google Meet or videotaped presentations to connect with students in an engaging format twice per week. We highly encourage students to attend these sessions. Keeping the face-to-face connection with teachers and classmates will help build motivation for students to continue learning at home. It will help create a sense of togetherness as we move forward each week.
This formal transition to remote learning will occur on Monday, April 13. On this day, students will have their first set of formal activities in their learning platform. Families who do not have internet access in their homes should communicate that to building principals and teachers. You can expect further communications from building principals about efforts to help families get connected. Each building principal will be sending additional documents to students and families that provide specific grade level information. These documents will also address other topics you might be wondering about such as graduation, field trips, athletics, drama, and the class placement process for students next fall. Look for these communications from the principals during the week of April 20 or sooner.
As Elks we all have a common purpose, to provide strong and innovative opportunities for all students to learn. In these unique times, our partnership with families is vital. Please engage with us during this final 25% of the school year and together we will prepare our students for the next steps. Our partnership in this endeavor will further a productive time of learning for our students.
Friday, April 3, 2020 COVID-19 Learning Plan Update
Dear Elk Rapids Families & Staff:
As expected, yesterday Governor Whitmer canceled face to face instruction for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Michigan. On Monday, April 6th, a district leadership team will begin developing the required components of our Elk Rapids Schools Remote Learning Plan. Our goal is to have the Remote Learning Plan approved by TBAISD as soon as the middle of next week. Once approved, communication regarding the details of our plan along with potential start dates will be shared with all district families. In the meantime, we encourage all our families and staff to stay safe and continue with the original distance learning we have utilized since the beginning of the school closure.
Elk Rapids Superintendent
April 1, 2020 Whitmer’s Upcoming Order
April 1, 2020
Tomorrow, Governor Whitmer is expected to make her announcement on whether schools in the state of Michigan will remain open for the remainder of the school year. Behind the scenes, we have been diligently working on Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C. While some of the information will be announced in her press conference, a lot of information will not be released to schools until after. We know you will have a lot of questions and we are more than happy to answer them but understand we will need a little time to get the information from Lansing, figure out which plan fits, and begin the steps to execute it. We are tremendously grateful for your patience during this time of uncertainty. We miss our students and hope you are all staying safe and staying home.
March 26, 2020 - COVID-19 Update
March 26, 2020
We are receiving increasing numbers of inquires specific to the school calendar and moving forward during this most difficult time. I am in communication on a daily basis with superintendents throughout the region, the ISD, attorneys, healthcare officials, and the Michigan Department of Education.
This is an especially challenging time for us all. Needless to say, none of us in the world of education has ever had to deal with this unique set of circumstances. That said, I want to assure all of our parents that I will communicate to everyone information as it is made available to me.
To date, all we know for sure is that school will not resume until at least April 14, 2020. Should that date change, and with any new information, I will share out as quickly as possible. Our buildings remain closed to all community and staff and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Our dedicated staff of custodians has done a tremendous job of sanitizing every building from top to bottom. For that reason our doors must remain closed.
We appreciate your cooperation and understanding of this most difficult situation. As we've heard so many say during this time, we will recover given time. Stay home, stay safe, and we'll see you all soon enough.
March 23, 2020 COVID-19 Update
Dear Elk Rapids Staff and Parents,
By now many or most of you have seen or heard the directive from the Governor of the State of Michigan who issued a Stay at Home order. Along with this communication, she also indicated that school would not resume any earlier than April 13, 2020. The original date was April 6, 2020 and we wanted to be sure that no one missed this communication.
In the meantime, I am in constant communication with the superintendent's in the region, ISD personnel, and healthcare officials regarding all of our challenges that lie ahead relative to COVID-19. To date, I have no information to share that hasn't already been shared out on state and federal levels. Superintendents across the state are waiting to hear from our Governor or the Department of Education whether these missed days of school will be forgiven. We will communicate to our staff, parents and community important information specific to plans for the remainder of the school year as those details are made aware to us.
In the meantime, the health and safety of our students, staff and community remains our highest priority. Any change in plans relative to the current online learning and food service programs will also be communicated out as they develop.
We thank you for your cooperation and understanding in these most difficult of times.
March 18, 2020 TBAISD Communication
School Districts and Local Agencies Engage in Swift Regional Collaboration
Traverse City, MI - As the region continues to adjust to the many challenges being posed by the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District (TBAISD) and local school district superintendents applaud the incredible work, dedication and positive spirit that regional school staff continue to bring to surrounding communities, school families and students across Antrim Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska and Leelanau counties.
Over the course of the week, custodial staff swiftly cleaned and disinfected buildings, office space and transportation vehicles as school operations adjusted to state-mandated closures.
Technology support staff took quick action to ensure essential employees received the tools necessary to work from home and network connectivity supported the increase in demand for remote access.
Foodservice staff, school support and professional staff, and community volunteers stepped up to coordinate vital food resources for school-age children with distribution centers, home deliveries, and drop-off sites coordinating efforts across the region. It is anticipated that over 30,000 meals will be distributed to school families in the first three days of service. For a complete food distribution schedule provided by area schools, click here. Families in need of food assistance are encouraged to reach out to the nearest distribution site, as the school district of residence does not matter.
Volunteerism opportunities are developing across the region. Grand Traverse County in conjunction with United Way of Northwest Michigan has created a volunteer registration process to direct individuals to make the greatest positive impact. Go to www.unitedwaynwmi.org/covid-19 or call 2-1-1 to complete the volunteer registration process.
Superintendents, school and community leaders continue to meet on a regular basis to coordinate efforts and monitor communication from Governor Whitmer and state and local health departments to provide consistent information in support of this ever-changing situation. It is a priority of local school leaders to keep families informed and provide resources to support the needs of each community they serve. The Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District website provides links to resources for parents to support the emotional needs of their children as well as a comprehensive list of reliable local and state agency resources. Community members are encouraged to contact the Grand Traverse County Health Department or their local health department regarding COVID-19 concerns.
Communication/Information Services Specialist
Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District
Traverse City, MI 49684
March 18, 2020 Meals for Students
Dear Elk Rapids Parents,
In this very uncertain time we want to be sure that our students do not go hungry. Your school district is here for you. Elk Rapids Schools will be offering free meals to any district person ages 18 and under during the state mandated closing. Meals offered will be breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday, starting on March 17th. Lunches will meet state nutrition standards.
If parents wish for meals to be provided for their children please email answers to the following questions to the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Meals will be available for pickup at either Mill Creek Elementary or Cherryland Middle School.
The district is also considering potentially delivering meals.
Breakfast: Y or N
Lunch: Y or N
Pickup: Y or N
If yes: Mill Creek or Cherryland Middle School
Delivery: Y or N
March 16, 2020 Bond Proposal Removed from May 5, 2020 Election
After careful consideration of the impact of COVID-19 on our local, state and national economies, both today and in the future, Elk Rapids Schools has made the difficult decision to remove the Bond Proposal from the May 5, 2020 election.
While this decision in no way reflects on the need and importance of the projects outlined in the Bond Proposal, the Board of Education believes that now is not the appropriate time to request additional taxes from our residents and community.
The district is committed to bringing the Bond Proposal to the voters at a later date.