Imlay City Schools FAQ
School Closure Frequently Asked Questions
Spartans and Spartan Families
June 10, 2020 Message from ICS Superintendent Dr. Stu Cameron
Dear Spartan Families:
As you know, June 4 was our last scheduled school day of the 2019-2020 school year. Typically, the last day of the school year brings excitement and even some bittersweet feelings as we say goodbye to one another and turn excitedly to thoughts of a summer break full of family time and relaxation. Yet, present circumstances are probably leaving a lot of us feeling without the sense of closure, satisfaction, and excitement that we’re accustomed to at this time of year. Perhaps you or your children are even carrying feelings of uncertainty into summer, concerned about the fall and what school will look like. These are all feelings to be expected, given the way the 2019-2020 school year came to a close.
With that being said, I want to encourage you to reframe your approach to thinking about the 2019-2020 school year. Rather than expending energy on things outside of our control (“what could have been”), I think it would be time well spent to reflect on the multitude of things - both big and small - that have been done to make the very best out of a very challenging situation. As such, I want to thank our Spartan families for the incredible efforts you put forth to care for your children, to engage them in learning, to set great examples for them, and to support them as they navigated the challenges of this most difficult situation. It has been a long 12 weeks for all of us! And while you certainly don’t need my validation, I do want you to know that I am so proud of our Spartan families. I’m proud of you, and I appreciate all that you’ve done to support your children and support the school district. Please accept my most sincere and heartfelt thanks!
With the current school year coming to a close, we are turning our focus toward the start of school in the fall. For the last several weeks, we have been outlining potential school delivery options for school year 2020-2021. We have used the following guideposts to outline each scenario: 1.) We will put together programming that assures, to the very best of our ability, the safety of our students and staff. 2.) We will remain dedicated to educational excellence and the highest quality programming for kids, no matter what mandates or constraints must be in place next year. 3.) We are willing to be creative and open to modifying our instructional delivery and teaching methods to meet current realities.
This means outlining plans for a variety of scenarios, from a traditional, in-person, face-to-face school day, to hybrid models with both face-to-face and virtual options, to exclusively online options. Our preference, as you might imagine, is to have a traditional looking school year in which we can assure everyone is safe and engaged in high quality learning. So, we are working with that goal in mind, and creating additional plans in case we need them.
There are still a great number of unknowns concerning next year. We are going to continue to take a measured, analytical approach as we move through our planning phase. An official announcement about the school year will come after the Return to School Advisory Council, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and Michigan Department of Education provide us with the guidelines and requirements we’ll need to meet in the fall. That information will be key to decisions about our instructional delivery model and what our school day can look like. Rest assured, we are working diligently on plans, and we will be fully prepared under any scenario to serve our students with outstanding programming in the fall.
We would like your feedback as we plan for next fall. I’m including a link to an online survey to collect that feedback. You can find the link here (below). The survey will be pushed out to you via School Messenger and will also be posted on our website and district social media.
Survey Link: https://forms.gle/usdr3J9jZ2LdGyeY9
We would like responses back by July 3rd in order to use them as one more piece of data as we continue to plan for fall.
In addition, below are answers to a few frequently asked questions about the opening of school and about summer operations:
Items marked with an asterisk * are new.
Nos damos cuenta de que hay muchas preguntas que nuestros estudiantes y familias tendrán sobre el cierre obligatorio de escuelas por parte del Gobernador. Estamos trabajando para proporcionar tantas respuestas como sea posible. Aquí hay un documento de "Preguntas frecuentes" que puede resultarle útil. Se actualizará semanalmente, a medida que se brinde más información del Estado y del Departamento de Educación de Michigan.
Consulte el siguiente enlace para ver estas preguntas frecuentes en español. El documento fue traducido con Google Translate. Por favor, perdona cualquier error.
* Opening of School in August 2020
* Will Imlay City Schools be open in the fall?
Yes. We will be open in the fall, and the first day for students in the new school year is currently scheduled for August 24, 2020. We are currently waiting on information from the Michigan Department of Education to determine what our school day can look like.
* How do we plan on keeping students safe from COVID-19 when we reopen?
* Will we have sporting competitions this fall?
School sports in Michigan are overseen by the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA). The MHSAA has released some general guidelines of how and when sports can resume. Our Athletic Director is closely monitoring the changes in the rules associated with athletics, and he is in constant contact with coaches. The Imlay City Schools will adhere to all MHSAA and government regulations regarding athletics.
* What is our plan if we have to distance learn in the fall?
One concern with any pandemic is the phenomenon of second wave infections when, after a decline, cases increase again in a community. If a second wave infection were to occur, our Governor has already stated that it is likely we would need to resume “Stay at Home” orders, including school closures.
With this possibility in mind, we are developing a high quality distance learning system which would allow us to continue classroom instruction, grade students for their work, and keep students on-track with their learning goals. This would allow us to do what is called “blended learning” and “blend” face-to-face instruction with on-line instruction.
The first step in this process was the purchase of enough Chromebooks to provide each student with one for academic use. We expect these additional Chromebooks to be here by September. That way, if we must close again in the fall, all of our students, K-12, will have 1:1 Chromebooks to facilitate distance learning in their homes. While we do not imagine sending home Chromebooks daily with K-5 students, we could easily distribute these tools in case of a closure.
Along with the Chromebooks, the district is developing online curriculum that we can customize and provide online lessons and assessments for students, so there will be ongoing teaching and learning and minimize “busy work” in this scenario. Teachers will be training with this program before school reopens.
We plan to devise online instruction that follows along with our daily instruction. Students with long term absences will also benefit from this, as will our students when they are stuck home for more mundane reasons, such as snow days.
Of course we still have a number of families who do not have dependable high speed internet. For those students we will provide alternative (print) materials for use and will explore opening internet “labs” for students, as allowable.
* What if I am concerned with my child returning to school?
As mentioned above, we will have a robust distance learning system available when we return to school. If we have students who cannot return to school in August because of medical concerns, we will absolutely have distance options available for that child. The exact rules which would govern this type of program have yet to be articulated by the government. The bottom line is that we will do whatever we can to support our medically fragile students when instruction resumes.
* Will we have orientation before next year?
* Are we making student schedules?
Yes! Our principals are working with counselors and faculty to develop class lists and schedules for 2020-2021. Even if we are using a blended instructional model, our students will have new teachers assigned for the 2020-2021 school year.
* What if my child fell behind academically during the closure?
It is expected that all of our students had some learning loss during this closure. Despite everyone’s best efforts, distance learning relies on instructional methods that don’t work well for everyone. So whether it is learning to read or learning calculus, some remediation for all of our students is anticipated. I have complete confidence in our faculty and principals to assess and remediate any learning loss which occurred due to our closure. We are assessing curriculum gaps and will make sure that all students experience the full K-12 curriculum during their time at ICS.
* What if I am concerned with the mental health of my student?
It is anticipated that several months away from school, combined with all of the uncertainty and disruption we have witnessed since March, is causing - and will cause - restlessness, anxiety and depression for children. If you have those concerns now, please do not wait until August to reach out to your child’s principal. We have dedicated staff who can assist you in these concerns. We also will be making student well-being a cornerstone of our reopening, including additional training for our teachers and staff.
* Will the school district provide busing?
Yes, but we do not know if there will be conditions placed on busing in the fall. As of this writing, we plan to offer busing as per our usual program.
* How will I get updates this summer?
We plan on updating our families and students frequently this summer. We will post new information on our websites, Facebook pages, and send information through PowerSchool Instant Messenger. We will send important information via mail, as well.
Summer 2020 Operations
* Will modified food service continue this summer?
The district will continue to provide free meals to families on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm in front of Imlay City High School. This will continue through Tuesday, June 30. We will not provide food service after June 30.
* Will athletic teams train this summer?
The Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) has provided guidelines and timelines for participation and student safety. Limited athletic activities may take place on campus beginning Monday, June 15. That is our goal. Detailed information will be coming from our athletic office and from coaches. In regard to fall athletics, our Athletic Director is closely monitoring the changes in the rules associated with athletics, and he is in constant contact with coaches. The district will adhere to all MHSAA and government regulations regarding athletics.
* Are any summer programs running this summer?
Summer childcare services are suspended at this time, and will reopen as soon as we are safely able to do so. All other summer programs have been cancelled, with the exception of high school credit recovery, which is an online program. If you are interested in this program, please call the high school counseling office for more information.
* Are school facilities open this summer?
Indoor facilities are typically closed after the end of the regular school year, and will be closed this summer as well. Outdoor facilities will be used by school athletic teams, as permitted.The full ICS School Closure Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document has been updated and can be accessed on our website at icschools.us.
What does the shutdown mean for Imlay City Schools?
All school buildings and facilities are closed to the public, including administration offices. All events, activities, and athletic programs, including practices, have been cancelled. Child care programs have also been canceled during the shut-down. Some essential district-level personnel will report, as necessary, during the closure.
Are any facilities open at this time? What about outdoor facilities?
All facilities are closed. We want to emphasize the importance of social distancing measures and other state guidelines during this time. As such, our athletic facilities – soccer fields, outdoor basketball courts, tennis courts, playgrounds etc. – are closed to public groups or gatherings.
What happens if members of the public (students or adults) congregate on campus?
Obviously, during the stay at home order, members of the public are subject to legal penalties, including fines if openly congregating. If seen, school personnel will remind members of the public about the stay at home order and ask them to disperse. The Michigan Attorney General has asked that in such instances local police be called, as well. That being said, we understand most people want to do the right thing and don’t anticipate this will be an issue.
Will students be allowed in the building to pick up personal items and clean out lockers and desks?
Unfortunately, no. This has been the most common question from parents. We sympathize with our students and families in this regard, but during the stay at home order, no one other than essential personnel will be allowed in buildings. We will re-evaluate after the stay at home order expires.
Will buildings be thoroughly cleaned during this shutdown?
During the shutdown, we will continue to conduct sanitization after every use of our facilities, including classrooms and other high traffic areas and surfaces, as well as frequently handled/shared items such as computers, doorknobs, light switches and equipment after each use. Deep cleaning of the buildings will be conducted in preparation for the return of students in the fall.
Will outside small groups still be able to use the building?
Will the schools provide meals for students during the shutdown?
Yes! Modified food service will be available during this period of closure. Imlay City Schools will be providing free lunch and snacks for all children ages 18 and under, and individuals receiving special education services ages 26 and under. Meals can be picked up on Tuesdays and Fridays (unless notified otherwise) from 4:00pm – 6:00pm in front of Imlay City High School.
Continuity of Learning
What will be required of the district in regards to continuity of learning?
Teaching and learning is the core of what we do. During students' time away, we are committed to continuing their academic development. While we can’t meet physically with students, we can provide learning experiences that keep them thinking, engaged, and in a mindset of learning.
We’ve developed a Continuity of Learning Plan representing our best effort to provide alternative modes of instruction, given the limitations resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
While we cannot require students to participate in the plan, nor can we issue a traditional letter grade for work completed, we are encouraging all of our students to engage in the plan. The plan will be in place through the last scheduled day of school on June 4, 2020.
What are the highlights of the learning plan? What educational opportunities will you provide?
During the shutdown, all teachers, K-12, will post links to a week’s worth of new work and exploratory activities each Tuesday morning. You can find them on the front page of the school website by clicking on “Spartan Learning Links.” We will also post the link weekly on our district social media, school websites, and school social media sites.
The district will continue to post activity packets, as well, and will make hard copies available during food pickups at the high school each Tuesday from 4:00-6:00pm. Beginning the week of April 20, hard copies of grade level packets for high school students will also be available. If you are able to download and print them at home, that will be helpful.
Teachers have and will continue to make work as accessible to students as possible. The alternative modes of contact being used by various teachers may include use of online learning, telephone communications, email, virtual links, videos, slideshows, projects, use of instructional packets, and more.
Teachers are holding virtual office hours every Monday and Wednesday from 1:00pm-3:00pm.
During these sessions, they will be available in real-time to respond to email, answer questions about work that is provided, and connect with students and parents.
Will you be issuing grades based on student work from our last report card through March 11?
No. Letter grades will not be issued for third marking period/second semester.
All high school students considered “on track” to earn credit (pass) in a course as of March 11, will be issued a PASS/CREDIT designation. High school students who are not passing a credit-bearing course will be contacted and provided an opportunity to complete work for credit. Middle School students in credit-bearing courses (Algebra I and Spanish I only), will be handled in the same manner.
Will you be grading students for work they complete through the continuity of learning plan? Can it be counted toward their grades/credit accrual?
No, we won’t be grading in the traditional sense – issuing a score and translating it to a gradebook – for any of the learning opportunities we provide from this time forward. Grades cannot be issued for work completed as part of the Continuity of Learning Plan. We cannot provide credit for work completed during this period because of the access issue students face and are prohibited from doing so. Additionally, we can’t require that students engage learning experiences we provide.
What about students that don't participate in any of the learning opportunities we provide?
We would like to see all of our students engaged and participating. That means we’ll work to assess who is participating and reach out to those that aren’t to see if we can engage them. We will give a good faith effort to do so. That being said, we are prohibited from requiring students to participate. There are no consequences for students who do not engage in the Learning Plan.
How will this affect my child's Grade Point Average?
GPAs will remain unchanged as of the end of first semester of the 2019-2020 school year.
How do I know if my child is moving on to the next grade?
Unless notified otherwise by your child’s school principal, all elementary and middle school students will progress to the next grade for school year 2020-2021. High school students must earn credit by course (see above).
How will this affect state testing: M-STEP and the SAT?
All state assessments have been waived for the year. Current juniors will take the SAT in the Fall, rather than this Spring.
What about AP Exams?
AP Exams are taking place this year. The College Board has developed online free-response exams. For more information see the AP website at https://apcoronavirusupdates.collegeboard.org/educators or reach out to your AP teacher.
My student has an IEP. How will that be handled?
Can Venture High School students continue with their online programming?
Yes. If your courses are open, you can, and should, continue completing them. Email us if you have specific program questions.
Will students have access to textbooks?
Not at this time. Teachers understand this and will generate learning opportunities that do not depend on access to a textbook.
Will students be required to go to school in summer to make up time?
What about college courses through the STEMM Academy, DEEP, and other dual enrollment classes?
How will this affect seniors?
The Governor’s Executive Order has provided direction: no student should be prevented from graduating simply due to the pandemic. Per the Order, students “on track to graduate” will graduate.
We have developed a local definition for "on track to graduate.” We have based that qualification on a combination of students' grades to date as of March 11 and the total accrual of high school credits over the entirety of their high school career.
We are currently conducting a transcript audit of every senior. Any senior who is on track to earn 22 ½ credits will graduate. District personnel will make a one-to-one connection by phone or mail to let all students know of their status. Per the Order, we will have to develop coursework/projects or exams for students who are not on track to graduate, in order that they have an opportunity to secure a passing grade. Pass/fail designations will be used.
Online credit recovery programs will be open to students already enrolled if they were making up credits before the school closure. Venture students will be able to continue in their online courses. We will work with them on accessibility issues.
We are going to do our best to get every student across the finish line given the guidelines we are working with from the MDE and the State. We don’t want any students hurt as a result of the timing of this pandemic. The ICHS graduation rate (percentage) has been in the 90s for many, many years, and we expect that will hold true of this year, as well.
Will ICS be holding senior activities and a graduation ceremony?
At this time, all student activities are cancelled, including Senior Honors Night and Baccalaureate.
We know students and parents are anxious about commencement ceremonies. That’s completely understandable. We hate to keep you waiting on a response, but we need to get some additional information before making a formal announcement about the direction we’re heading in.
The thought of not having a ceremony is distressing to us, as we know it is to seniors and their families. Under current conditions, there simply wouldn’t be any way to conduct a formal commencement event. As you know, attendance at our traditional commencement regularly exceeds 2500 people. Unfortunately, we may not be in a position in the foreseeable future to gather a large group together. Our first priority is to make sure that our graduates, their families, and district personnel remain safe and healthy. That moral obligation, along with the executive orders from the Governor will be the overriding drivers of any decision regarding a traditional ceremony or any other events requiring a large gathering.
That being said, we’ll continue to assess our options when and if guidelines regarding congregating in groups are relaxed. There are just too many unknowns right now to be able to commit to an event at this juncture. So, I would tell seniors and their families that a formal announcement with be forthcoming, once we have some additional information from the State. In that regard, it’s to everyone’s advantage to put just a few more weeks behind us before making a formal decision. We will also be exploring non-traditional celebration options for consideration.
Regardless, one fact remains true: our seniors are great kids. They’ve worked hard, and it is a shame that their senior year ended this way. It’s worse to think that they may miss these meaningful events that celebrate their accomplishments. We hate the thought of it, and we are hoping for the best case scenario in which an event can take place. This is an incredible group of young people; individually and collectively are an accomplished class. Nothing can take that away from them.
Events and Activities
What about the ICHS Prom?
Prom has been cancelled.
What about student trips?
All student trips during the shutdown have been cancelled.
What about spring sports?
The spring athletic season has been cancelled by the MHSAA. No athletic activities, including practices or voluntary workouts on campus, will take place during the mandatory shutdown or until further notice.
What about little league and community sports?
Early Learning Center and Latchkey
Will the District be crediting families the tuition they have paid for this session of latchkey and preschool?
Are you running summer program-Camp Overdrive, Credit Recovery, Robotics, Summer Learning Series, Bookmobile, Migrant Program, Open Gym, Summer Sports Camps for Fall Sports, etc.?
As of this writing, no. If this changes, we will let you know as soon as possible.
Who do I contact if I need to get in touch with someone at the school?
You can contact us by email. The easiest way to do so is to go to the staff directory page on our website, icschools.us, and click on the associated email link. We are bringing in essential staff only. Building offices are closed, and the central office will be short staffed. Email will be monitored during the shutdown.