COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan

On August 20, 2020, Governor Whitmer signed House Bill 5913 into law as Public Act 149.  Section 98a states that in order to receive state aid for 2020-2021, districts must provide for instruction under an extended COVID-19 Learning Plan (“Plan”) that has been approved by an intermediate district or authorizing body. The Plan does not replace the District’s/PSA’s COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan, it is an additional plan that includes new assurances and sections on educational goals, instructional delivery, grading, and equitable access. The Board of Education approved submission of the District's Plan to West Shore Educational Service District, the State Treasurer, and the State Superintendent on September 22, 2020.


Pursuant to Executive Order 2020-142, on Monday, August 10, 2020, the Ludington Area School District Board of Education approved the following COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan ("Plan"):


The District's Plan was informed by the following District Health Department #10 documents that will be used in the implementation of the District's Plan. These documents are listed as appendices in the District's Board approved plan:

Spectrum Health has released its Safe Return to School Guide that has also been adopted by the District. This document is listed as Appendix D in the District's Plan. The hospital's guidance can be found in the link below:

The District has developed sample schedules, as outlined below, for each of the options to assist parents in selecting the option that best meets the need of their child(ren). These sample schedules are listed in Appendix E of the District's approved Plan.

Important: It is the intent of the District to schedule all students for in-person instruction, expecting that all students will return to school on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 unless a parent registers their child for either option 2a or option 2b using the Google Form link below.

Note: Plans are subject to change pending legislative action, Executive Order, or mandate by the Michigan Department of Education.

First, on behalf of Ludington Area Schools, I want to take a minute to thank our students, parents, staff, and the greater school community for the care, respect, and grace that you have all shown for one another as we work to make the best of a very difficult situation in preparation for a new school year. Our lives tend to be the most calm and confident when there is routine, and our structures for providing instruction are predictable. While we know that so much in our lives is anything but predictable, we have been working hard at Ludington Area Schools to develop a comprehensive return to school plan that provides structure, yet is flexible to meet the unique needs of our students and their families during these uncertain times.

While we know that we will never be able to develop a plan that is perfect for everyone, we have listened to the feedback that we have received from students, parents, staff, and our community, and we are proposing a learning model that allows for a choice between in-person instruction and online remote learning. While it is important to recognize that any of the plans proposed by LASD are subject to change based upon legislative action, Executive Order, or mandate by the Michigan Department of Education, we believe that we have developed a plan to help meet the needs of all students in our District, based upon what we currently know.

These plans require approval by the Board of Education by August 15, 2020, and submission to the Michigan Department of Education and State Treasurer by August 17, 2020 before being finalized. The Ludington Area School District Board of Education is scheduled to take action on these plans at its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, August 10, 2020.

The District understands that what may work for one family, may not necessarily work for another family. It is important that we develop plans to meet the needs of all students, and providing choice in a return to school plan for families helps the District accomplish this goal. The District has also been focused on the development of contingency plans based upon the phase that our region falls within, as guided by the Governor’s MI Safe Start Plan and Return to School Roadmap. Importantly, our plans seek ways to focus on the development of strong student to teacher relationships, and the development of programs to support the social and emotional health of our students and staff. These are difficult times for all of us, and I urge us all as a community to move forward with care, respect, and grace.

Again, the plans outlined by the District are dependent upon the phase that our region falls within. Currently, MERC Region 2 is in phase 4 of the Governor’s MI Safe Start Plan, allowing for school to return to in-person instruction. However, at any point, if the region falls back to phase 3 or below, it is important to recognize that in-person instruction will be prohibited and students will need to transition to remote learning from home. Further, it is highly likely that students or staff will experience COVID-19 symptoms, be exposed to through close contact a positive COVID-19 individual, or be confirmed as having COVID-19 at some point throughout the school year. The District must have plans in place to support the learning of students in the event that extended periods of quarantine are required as we work closely with District Health Department #10. The District will begin meeting weekly with the District Health Department #10, with the first of these meetings taking place on August 6, 2020 to analyze and understand public health trends, as required by the Return to School Roadmap. These weekly meetings will continue into the foreseeable future.

With this in mind, the District has developed return to school options that are flexible. Beginning on September 8, 2020, Ludington Area Schools plans to offer both an in-person learning instructional model and online remote learning options for students. To assist the District in the planning that goes into implementing these plans, the District is requesting parents to select the instructional learning model that they intend for their child(ren) to participate in. It is important to recognize that each of the online learning models are commitments that must be made by the student and parent one trimester at a time.

Procedure:

Parents are asked to select one of the following options, as outlined in the attached letter. Parents will be asked to click on the link below and enter the option that they select for their child into the linked Google Form. It is important that a separate interest form is completed for each student as a way to help the District track and monitor each individual student.

Parents must follow this procedure for their child to express interest and to be eligible for either option 2a or option 2b of this program. Deadline for completion of the interest form for this program will be August 14, 2020. Students can elect to attend this program for one, two, or three trimesters; although all children who register will be enrolled for one trimester at a time. This will allow for students to make transitions between programs at the end of each trimester.

Student Instructional Learning Plan Interest Formhttps://forms.gle/vtc7Y4CeitzQ4Eo5A

Once again, thank you for your patience and understanding as we have worked through the development of these plans. Additional detail pertaining to the District’s full and complete Return to School plan can be found on the District’s website. Have a great rest of the summer and thank you for choosing to be an Oriole!

The District has updated the COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan for its employees outlining prevention efforts and workplace controls, identification and isolation of sick and/or exposed employees, workplace flexibilities and potential benefits for employees affected by COVID-19, and plan updates and expiration. Click on the link below to access the updated plan:

Dr. Jennifer Morse, the Medical Director at District Health Department #10, has provided the following return to school message to the employee of local school districts.

  • Presentation by Dr. Morse to Staff (August 12, 2020)

Message from Superintendent Kennedy (July 21, 2020):

The District is seeking feedback from the community regarding its plan to return to school in the fall. The public comment period will close at noon on Friday, August 7, 2020 so that the data can be put together in a format that can be shared with the Board of Education prior to its Board meeting on Monday, August 10, 2020. At that time, the Board is expected to approve a final version of the District's Return to School Plan.

The feedback provided to the District through this forum will allow for additional stakeholder voices to be heard as the the District finalizes its plan. Please understand that the plans that have been presented to the community are working draft documents for the purpose of soliciting feedback. The District is required to develop a plan and have its Board of Education approve the plan by no later than August 15, 2020. The District must then submit the Board approved plan to the Michigan Department of Education and the State Treasurer by August 17, 2020, per Executive Order.

Your help in informing the development of the Ludington Area Schools' Return to School Plan is appreciated. Please click on the link below to enter your feedback on the District's plan after reviewing it below.

District Return to School Planning Documents for Public Comment and Review


Message from Superintendent Kennedy (June 17, 2020):

Please click on the link below to access a communication from Superintendent Kennedy on the press conference held by Governor Whitmer to update the State on the development of a return to school plan in the fall. The Governor outlined generalities for a return to school that will be addressed through Executive Order. It is expected that this Executive Order, along with a roadmap and minimum requirements for schools to return to in-person instruction in the fall, will be provided to schools on or about June 30, 2020.

Message from Superintendent Kennedy (May 18, 2020)

Please click on the link below to access a letter from Superintendent Kennedy to the community regarding the planning process for a return to school in the fall 2020.

District Return to School Meeting Documents

Documents from each of the District Return to School Task Force meetings have been uploaded to the District's website below so that the community can see the process that the District has worked through to develop plans for returning to school in the fall.


District Return to School Parent Survey Results

The District issued a survey to its parent to collect feedback and guidance related to the development of the District's return to school plans for the fall of 2020. 

Thank you to all of the 702 respondents that participated in the Ludington Area Schools Return to School parent survey. These 702 respondents represented 1,256 of the District's students (approximately 58%). The results of the parent survey have been valuable to the District's Return to School Task Force in the development of our District's plans, and the District appreciates the time that its parents took in completing this survey.

The District will use this information to develop its return to school learning plans for the fall, while aligning the plans that it develops to the required minimum standards that will be provided to Districts on June 30, 2020 by the State of Michigan and the Governor's Return to School Advisory Council.

Question:

If my student has to quarantine as a result of being a close contact to a positive, or as a positive COVID-19 case themselves, how will the District continue to provide instruction to my child?

Answer:

Students who are determined to be close contacts of a positive COVID-19 case by the District Health Department #10 (DHD10), or who have tested positive for COVID-19 themselves, will be required to follow the directions of the DHD10 and the District. Close contacts of a positive COVID-19 case will be required to quarantine for at least fourteen (14) days. Positive COVID-19 cases will follow the direction of the DHD10 as it pertains to the quarantine period that is required to be followed.

In-Person Learners:

Once quarantined, the student’s teacher will continue to work with the quarantined student just as if they were ill or had another diagnosis requiring a lengthy absence from school such as Mononucleosis, etc. Teachers have been working hard to learn and upload material into the District’s learning management system in an effort to be prepared. Assignments and instructional materials may be posted within Canvas, the District’s learning management system, for students to complete or participate in while on quarantine. This will allow in-person learners to stay as close to on track with their class(es) as possible. Other methods such as printed packets may also be used by the teacher to support a student’s learning. The District’s policies for work completion and submission of assignments for absent students who are ill will apply to quarantine related absences also. Each scenario will be handled on a case by case basis and will be communicated directly with the student and parent in the event a student is placed on quarantine.

Parents will be given the opportunity to transition to an online instructional delivery methodology to complete the remainder of the trimester that we are currently in at the time of quarantine, if they choose. It must be understood that the District’s online learners may not be in the exact place within the curriculum as those who are learning in person. 

Online Learners:

For students participating in an online learning option, the student will continue to participate in the online learning option that they have selected with regard to instructional delivery and assignment completion. Upon being quarantined as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case, although the student is learning from home, the District’s policies for work completion and submission of assignments for absent students who are ill will apply to quarantine related absences for online learners also. Each scenario will be handled on a case by case basis and will be communicated directly with the student and parent in the event a student is placed on quarantine.