Information regarding COVID-related school closures until April 6, 2020

Posted on March 13th, 2020

Char-Em ISD is assisting our local districts with communicating about the mandated Michigan school closure until April 6, 2020 due to the coronavirus. Following are answers to some common questions at this time from ISD Superintendent Jeff Crouse:

Thank you for your understanding and patience during this unprecedented time, with all schools in Michigan closed until April 6, 2020 as directed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. We know you have many questions and we will do our best to continue to keep you updated as we receive answers. You can expect to receive regular communications from us in the days and weeks ahead.

Char-Em ISD’s superintendents are in regular communication with the Health Department of Northwest Michigan, and we will be keeping a pulse on the health of our community through their communications. We are also in communication with each other about our individual plans and processes and learning from one-another as this situation evolves.

Following are initial answers to questions we anticipate you might have:

Are all Michigan K-12 schools, public and private, closed until April 6, 2020: Yes, by order of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on March 12, 2020.

Are students and staff allowed into the buildings on and after Monday, March 16, 2020 and until the order is lifted? No, the buildings will be closed with no access to non-essential staff or the public. Custodial staff and administration may be at buildings during this time.

Will students be required to continue their education online? No. Due to regulations under FAPE (Free and Appropriate Education) federal law, if education is provided to one child it must be equally and fairly provided to ALL students in the district. It would be nearly impossible for districts to ensure all families have access to Internet connection and technology, for example. It would not be possible to meet the requirements of students’ IEPs, 504s and other accommodations for those receiving special education services. Some districts may be sending home optional, non-graded worksheets and activities for students to work on over this extended break.

Will IEP meetings, evening conferences or other parent/guardian-school meetings still take place? No, all of these meetings are canceled and may be rescheduled. You will be contacted by your student’s teacher(s) to reschedule.

Will home services continue for those who receive services in this manner? No, all home services are canceled during this time. You will be contacted by your child’s teacher(s) to reschedule services.

Are Char-Em ISD services continuing during this time? No, all Char-Em ISD school-related services are suspended until they resume April 7, 2020. 

Will any school sports events, drama productions or other school-sponsored club activities be held? No, everything is cancelled, including off-site practices. You must check with non-school affiliated clubs and sports associations regarding their individual plans. 

Will there be food service for students during this closure? Individual districts will be announcing their food programs, if available. This information should be announced soon.

Will students and staff be required to make up these closure days?  The Michigan Department of Education has not issued a decision on whether these days will be made up at the end of the scheduled school year. As soon as that decision is announced, we will share it with families. Because of Char-Em’s ISD-wide scheduled spring break, the total days off for this mandated closure equals 9 days.

Are child care / day care centers / preschools closed that are affiliated with schools? Yes, any program that takes place in a district school is closed, including Head Start and GSRP. Please check with your independent day care provider about their plans.

Are Char-Em ISD trainings and professional learning sessions canceled? Yes, all Char-Em ISD professional learning trainings scheduled through April 6, 2020 are cancelled.

Will school board meetings scheduled for this time still be held? This is at the discretion of each school board; please check with your district for specific information.

What kinds of activities should my child do over this break time? The advice of health officials is to stay home as much as possible to prevent any chance of spreading the virus. While children might view this time away from school as a vacation, it is important for parents and caregivers to reiterate that this is a serious event in our country that will require everyone’s cooperation. Some districts may send home optional activities for children. They will also have optional access to their online learning tools.

How will the district communicate with families during the closure? School districts will utilize their usual communication channels to reach families. Please be sure to regularly check email, REMIND, text messages, and social media channels

Will school district staff be available during this time to answer questions? Yes. If you need to reach the ISD, please call (231) 547-9947 or email info@charemisd.org and we will do our best to get back to you promptly.

What date will students and staff return to school? At this time, students and staff in Char-Em ISD are scheduled to return to school on Tuesday, April 7, 2020 after Spring Break. 

Special note about health: If you or a family member is diagnosed with coronavirus, or any other highly communicable disease, please let your supervisor know and follow the procedures as directed by your doctor. We know that many families have travel plans out of the area during Spring Break which may result in exposure. It is critical that our children and staff are not exposed to COVID-19 or any communicable disease.  

While this is a stressful and uncertain time, I would like to share that our teachers, transporters, paraprofessionals, administrators, food service, support staff and myself all care deeply about the students and families in our care. We understand this disruption to the daily school routine will have impacts across our community. We will communicate any information we receive as promptly as possible.

Sincerely,

Jeff Crouse,
Superintendent Char-Em ISD

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