UPDATE: March 23, 2020 - 4 PM.
School Leader Email Notes:
School closed until April 13:
- The Governor announced today, with her “Stay Home” mandate, that schools will be closed until April 13 and that more information will be forthcoming. Sara Mooney is creating a template letter for you to customize for your families.
- Please explore the option of turning down your heat (to safe levels) in your school building.
- The Governor's Order issued today takes effect March 24 - April 13, 2020.
- All public/private gatherings of any number of people are prohibited, except that below. Those who leave their home must practice social distancing to the extent feasible.
- Only staff that is necessary to conduct minimum basic operations may be at school.
- Food service staff, volunteers, or anyone necessary for the school closure meal delivery program, may be at school under the stay-at-home mandate.
- Bookkeeping and business office staff who are necessary to maintain minimum operations to process transactions including payroll, bill payments, may be at school. Please let your Finance Director know if your bookkeeper and payroll person is working from home and/or needs assistance.
- Custodial staff are necessary to continue to clean and sanitize those areas that are used by the above staff. Other areas not in use should be locked or taped off.
- Maintenance and security staff necessary to maintain operations and security of the facility should continue to work on-site only as necessary.
- Choice will list on your website, by March 31, the essential staff functions/roles that are necessary to work at your school per this mandate.
Staff and student communication:
Some of you are asking for baseline expectations in regards to communication with your staff and students. Here is what we suggest:
- At least once a week, please hold a staff meeting via Zoom or Google Hangout
- The more you connect with your staff the better.
- If you are having issues with staff communication, please reach out to your superintendent and/or HR representative.
- At least once a week, please connect with your families via email, personal phone calls, or School Messenger.
- Communications and marketing can help you draft a customized message.
- Teachers should be in contact via Google Hangout, Zoom, or voice with their students at least one time weekly.
- Be active on your social media pages. Please post videos of teachers reading or teaching a lesson, photos of teachers preparing at home or a video of you saying hello.
- Communications and marketing can help you with content.
Update as of March 15, 2020 - 6:15 pm
4 Important Updates for School Leaders
Dear School Leaders,
We have 4 important updates for you!
#1. Staff reporting to the building tomorrow, Monday, March 16
- Instructional Staff - Please use Zoom, Google Hangout, etc. to communicate with your instructional staff and encourage them NOT TO REPORT to the building.
- Non-Instructional staff - Maintenance, food service, payroll, bookkeeping, (possibly transportation if you are delivering meals) and like-services must continue. Please communicate separately to these staff members about their responsibilities. These staff should only be in the building for the amount of time it takes to perform their essential function.
- Please let me know what your plan is for food distribution if you haven’t already.
- With that said, if someone needs to come to the building, they must A) be healthy and B) work out a scheduled time with you. When they are there, they have a duty to clean whatever they touch and take out their trash. We can’t expect the maintenance staff to do a deep cleaning every night with staff members coming and going from the buildings freely.
#2. Teachers are providing continued learning opportunities NOT “teaching online” and parents are not required to homeschool.
We have to be firm and clear about this with all the instructional staff.
- In order to be equitable for all students, all work and/or activities that were sent, or will be sent home for kids, must all be optional ways to extend the learning process.
- If your teachers have already communicated with their parents, please make sure they follow up with a written message that the work is optional and will not be graded.
- If you require students to complete or provide a grade for the work your school will be responsible to follow all IEP accommodations for the assigned activities and also for services related to each student's IEP.
#3. Choice sending a message to all staff tomorrow.
- Choice Schools will be sending an all-staff email tomorrow with the following information:
All student work must be optional, see above.
Information about what to do if you or someone you have been in close contact with tests positive with COVID-19.
#4. Importance of updating your parents
- We have drafted another letter for your parents to address the following:
- Your school’s current plans
- Information about what to do if you or someone you have been in close contact with tests positive with COVID-19
- How to talk to your children about COVID-19.
Click here to access the letter.
Please confirm you have received this email. If you have not responded by 7:30 p.m. we will text you.
Update as of March 13, 2020 - 4:30 pm
Family communication regarding continued learning
As we prepare to send work and/or activities home for kids it must all be optional ways to extend the learning process. If you require students to complete or provide a grade for the work your school will be responsible to follow all IEP accommodations for the assigned activities and also for services related to each student's IEP.
In summary- All activities you provide have to be optional.
Below is an example of how this could be worded in your communication to parents
We have worked with staff to develop learning extensions that you may choose to use with your children during this extended time at home. These learning extensions are supplemental to student learning and are designed to prevent learning gaps as time progresses. These assignments will not be used for decisions of unit placement at the end of the year. They have been created to provide your children opportunities to feel routine and normalcy during this time of change.
Very soon, your child’s classroom teachers will email you suggested and optional learning activities for reading, writing, and mathematics. Included in these activities are suggestions for games, actual games, choice boards, reading lists, writing prompts and much more.
The intent of these learning resources is to create a sense of routine and normalcy for our students. Completing these learning extensions is your choice as a family. From all of us here at _____________, we wish your family a healthy, happy, and enriching time together over the next three weeks. We look forward to greeting our students and families once Governor Whitmer authorizes our return to school.
Update as of March 13, 2020 - 12:30 pm
Leader message 3/13/20
(School name) family,
At this time, we are following the direction of the governor regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Our school will be closed Monday, March 16 until Sunday, April 5 in an attempt to slow the spread of the Coronavirus.
At this time, we are making plans to continue the learning process. We will know more information soon and will communicate with our parents via (email, social media and/or website). We will keep you posted as we finalize our plans for meals, learning and more.
Thank you for your patience during this time as we navigate the situation.
Please look for more information from us soon.
(School leader name)
Update from the Governor's Office as of March 13, 2020
Official memo from Governor Whitmer's Office
Governor Whitmer Announces Statewide Closure of All K-12 School Buildings
School building closures will last Monday, March 16 through Sunday, April 5
LANSING, Mich. -- Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that in order to slow the spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan, she is ordering the closure of all K-12 school buildings, public, private, and boarding, to students starting Monday, March 16 until Sunday, April 5. School buildings are scheduled to reopen on Monday, April 6.
As of tonight, the number of presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Michigan is 12.
“This is a necessary step to protect our kids, our families, and our overall public health,” said Governor Whitmer. “I am working with partners across state government to ensure educators, parents, and students have the support they need during this time, and to ensure our children who rely on school for meals have access to food. I know this will be a tough time, but we’re doing this to keep the most people we can safe. I urge everyone to make smart choices during this time and to do everything they can to protect themselves and their families.”
“Closing our K-12 school buildings is the responsible choice that will minimize the risk of exposure for children, educators, and families and mitigate the spread of coronavirus,” said Michigan State Superintendent Michael Rice. “The Department of Education will continue to work closely with our partners in state government to help our students and educators in each school district get through this time. This is about protecting the most people in Michigan.”
Governors across the country, including Mike DeWine (R-OH), Andy Beshear (D-KY), and Larry Hogan (R-MD), have taken similar steps to close schools and ensure the protection of children and families in their states.
“Closing our school buildings is the smart thing and the right thing to do for the public’s health,” said Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “These actions will help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan. I will continue to work with Governor Whitmer and our four COVID-19 task forces to ensure we protect our children, our families, and our communities.”
Patients with confirmed infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:
- Shortness of breath
The best prevention for viruses, such as influenza, the common cold or COVID-19 is to:
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- If you are sick, stay home, and avoid contact with others.
Update as of March 12, 2020
School Leader Message 3/12/2020
Dear School Leaders,
Please read this email in its entirety. THANK YOU for keeping up with this information AND simultaneously delivering quality instruction to your students.
As promised, we are continuing to keep you updated with important information regarding the COVID-19. To ensure information is timely and consistent, we created an internal Choice Schools COVID-19 web page for you all with common parent and staff FAQs.
We will start to use this web page to store and share all communications. I will send you an email reminder when we add important items. Below you will find some answers to high-level questions. Please send me additional questions we should add to the FAQ page.
Distance Learning Planning:
As you consider the next steps in preparing for the possibility of having to provide educational options for your students, please reference the Covid19 Instructional Preparation document. Additionally, please use any early release time on Friday, March 13, 2020, to prepare materials and or resources for students. Please confirm and record each teacher's alternate instructional plan so that any compliance requirements related to the methods of instruction utilized can be fulfilled.
Currently, there are no recommendations for school closures related to COVID-19 other than some districts closing in order to prepare their teachers to provide instruction remotely. If school closures are recommended by your county health department or ISD/RESA please contact your Area Superintendent immediately.
Area ISDs are recommending the following:
- Limiting outside guests in classrooms until further notice, including tours to the classrooms. All guests to the building should be asked CDC questions, such as, have they traveled internationally in the last 14 days, have they had a fever and are they feeling well) to ensure the health and safety of students and staff.
- Field trips should be canceled until further notice.
- School-sponsored travel should be suspended until further notice.
- Assemblies and performances involving participation by the general public should be suspended until further notice.
- Community meetings, community education programming (excluding preschool), rentals, and gatherings scheduled to take place within school facilities should be suspended until further notice.
- MHSAA has suspended all winter sports tournaments. All other athletic events will continue in accordance with guidance issued by the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA). Updates will be posted at www.mhsaa.com.
- Any after-school activity consisting of a group less than 100 people and is an extension of the normal learning day (clubs, athletic practices, etc.) could continue as planned. After the events, please suggest having your cleaning staff increase sanitization efforts.
Spring Break and other Travel Resources:
- The CDC strongly discourages personal travel to jurisdictions with a Level 3 Travel Warning.
- Any traveler arriving from these areas (including short-term visitors to campus) must follow the CDC guidelines. Depending on your travel history, you will be asked to stay home for a period of 14 days from the time you left an area with widespread or ongoing community spread.
- For travel to/from other destinations:
- The CDC is discouraging all non-essential international travel for now. If you decide to travel, be aware of health resources in those areas if they are affected by coronavirus. You may be subject to governmental travel restrictions with little or no notice, and airlines may limit or cancel flights without warning. You will be subject to any restrictions in place at the time of your return, not only at the time of departure. Return to the U.S. may be difficult, and after your arrival you may be required to stay away from campus.
- If you do travel internationally:
- Keep yourself informed about developments in your destination. Monitor the travel guidance provided by the CDC.
- For domestic travelers:
- The known prevalence of COVID-19 infection in the U.S. is changing rapidly. Use caution and judgment in planning domestic travel, and check for the latest information before embarking on your trip.
Chief Strategic Operations Officer
Update as of March 11, 2020
Dear School Leaders,
Now that there are two confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Michigan, we are being proactive in our preparation in the event it impacts schools. This information is to help and not to create panic. We are providing you with this information to be prepared to answer student, parent and staff questions as well as continue to provide instruction in the event of school closure.
This email is brief because it is very important to follow the step by step instructions and links below.
*Please note, in order to make sure that you have ample time to communicate and prepare your COVID19 Emergency plan we will not be having our scheduled Leaders’ Meeting on Tuesday, March 17. Instead, we will have a digital meeting via zoom on Tuesday from 9:30-11:00. You will receive a zoom link via email and calendar invite soon.
Please follow the instructions below:
OPERATIONS AND PRECAUTIONS/PREVENTION GUIDANCE
- *IMPORTANT* Please copy (sign your name) and send out the new parent letter #2 to your parents and send a copy of the email to Ron Wiens.
- *IMPORTANT* Please review the Instructional Delivery Guidance.
- *IMPORTANT* Please read and send this letter to your staff - HR Guidance Letter and send a copy of the email to Ron Wiens.
- Continuity of Operations
- Your local health department will advise you of closing your school due to the Coronavirus based on the information they receive from your community or from your school. All school closures must be approved by your Area Superintendent and Board.
- The Finance Department and your Superintendent are working through action steps to continue necessary business office functions, and building maintenance, should a school closure occur.
- Contractors will need to be notified by you of any closures.
- Your Crisis Team should review your Emergency Operations Plan with respect to continuity of school operations and communications with students, families, and public health.
- Please ask the Communications and Marketing team to assist you with all external and internal communications.
- We are awaiting guidance from MDE regarding pupil accounting, etc.
- Please ask your staff to take their school devices home each day.
- Please know that we are also in communication with your school board and authorizer.
- Continue with precautions sent earlier - to summarize:
- . Use good hygiene practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases.
- Stay home if you are sick, and advise others to do the same.
- Always cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue or sleeve.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and warm water are not available.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces (computers, keyboards, desks, etc.).