SLCS District Update

February 4, 2021

Note from the Superintendent

Dear SLCS Families,

Fortunately, we have been experiencing a mild season this year with respect to winter weather. However, in light of the fact that it will be here eventually, we want to review with you the procedures related to canceling school on "snow days" or for other reasons.


Canceling a day of school is a decision that is not made lightly. The two most common reasons to cancel school are for building issues, such as power outages, or weather-related issues. Canceling school due to a building issue is an easy decision; it's the weather-related cancellations that can be difficult. Members of our transportation staff spend time driving the roads, sometimes as early as 1:00 a.m., to determine whether road conditions will enable our buses to safely transport students. Our district covers more than 83 square miles and encompasses both paved and dirt roads. Often the main roads are fine but the back roads and subdivision roads are not treated and remain dangerous.


While our staff members are driving the roads, conference calls with other county superintendents, a meteorologist and at times the Road Commission take place to share and discuss current and predicted weather conditions. You may see that some schools in the county close when we do not and that is because of the varied conditions throughout Oakland County.


When making the decision to cancel school, we are aware that parents need as much time as possible to make arrangements for childcare. There are times this decision can be made the prior evening when conditions are so bad that it's apparent there will be little change in the morning. However, that is not usually the case, and we will try to make the morning decision as early as possible to notify parents and staff.


Cold weather is a factor when canceling school, but this factor is a part of our Michigan reality. The threshold is usually if the temperature with the wind chill factor is 25 degrees below zero. Negative 25 degrees is when the National Weather Service moves from an “advisory” to a “warning.” While subzero temperatures may only be an inconvenience for motorists, a warning from the National Weather Service means these conditions are dangerous for our children walking to school or standing at bus stops, especially when area traffic conditions create bus delays.


Once the decision is made to cancel school, we notify the media outlets; share with staff and parents through our Skylert system and District social media accounts, as well as post the notice on our website. When we close the schools, ALL academic pathways (hybrid/in-person and VLP) are canceled as the district is closed. In addition, all building activities are also canceled unless a determination is made later in the day for specific activities to resume. This determination is very unlikely, and conditions must improve significantly for this to occur.


We hope this information is helpful as you plan for these types of situations.


Have a safe and enjoyable Superbowl weekend!


Steve Archibald

All Families

Oakland Schools is excited to announce bestselling author and generational expert, Mark C. Perna, will be hosting a special virtual presentation on Zoom, “Answering Why: Unleashing Passion, Purpose, and Performance in Younger Generations” from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24th. This one night only program is open to all Oakland County parents of K-12 students. Learn how to motivate your child and encourage their passion for learning.


Perna, who has appeared on over 2,000 television, radio and podcast shows, is an expert in helping educators, employers and parents understand and connect with the millennial and Z generations. Read more about the event and how to attend click here.

Elementary Families

In-Person Updates:

Some families have asked when elementary students will return to 5 in person days of school. As you know, Wednesdays were initially designed as remote learning to allow us time to complete cleaning tasks that were difficult to accomplish on in-person days due to the need for an increased focus on disinfecting. As we worked through other complexities with returning to in-person learning this year, many of those problems, such as a shortage of guest teachers and also supporting quarantined elementary students in their learning, were able to be solved by creatively utilizing the flexibility of those Wednesdays.


The components built into the remote Wednesday are vital in helping us to maintain in-person instruction the other four days of the week. This year, it has been critical that we reduce the strain on our guest teacher system in any way possible so that we have enough guest teachers available to cover absences when teachers are ill or quarantined. One way we have done that is to move meetings like Individualized Educational Program (IEPs) , 504s, Child Studies, Family meetings, and other meetings that would have otherwise required guest teachers to the afternoons on Wednesdays whenever possible so that no guest teachers would be required. This enables us to ensure that guest teachers are able to be utilized for true teacher absences on the days we have in-person instruction.


Another critical element of the remote Wednesday is the opportunity for teachers to connect with students who have been quarantined. When students are ill or quarantined, we provide assignments and activities to support their continued learning. We also work to provide other staff members for students to check in with over the course of the week whenever possible. It is important to us that these students also have an opportunity to connect directly with and engage with their classroom teacher. Wednesday provides them with that opportunity to meet with their classroom teacher to receive direct instruction that is tailored to them, their specific needs, and any questions they may have. We deeply value these quality interactions for our students.


On Wednesday, when teachers are not providing whole class instruction or meeting with students with extended absences, they are able to provide additional support or extensions for individual students and small groups, and the time functions similarly to the Flex Time on Fridays for students in the Virtual Learning Pathway.


In order for us to consider adjusting the remote Wednesday schedule, we would need for there to be a significant revision to the state-mandated quarantine requirements and a large increase in the availability of guest teachers. While other states have made adjustments to quarantine requirements, there has been no indication that there will be a significant revision of the state-mandated quarantine requirements.


For these reasons, we are planning to continue with 4 days of in person and one remote day of instruction at the elementary level as we feel it provides the most beneficial instructional format to best meet our students' needs, given the current circumstances.

Secondary Families

Here is the link to the parent communication that was sent out on February 3, 2021 regarding the increase in secondary in-person instruction:

Secondary Return to 100% Communication

Spanish Secondary Return to 100% Communication


Special Education - Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) Update

A big shout out of gratitude goes to our South Lyon Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) Representatives: Amanda Fitch and Kristen Phipps. These dedicated parents attend a monthly meeting with other PAC members of Oakland County to learn from each other and to represent their school districts at the county level. Here are a few resources that our representative would like to share for the month of February:


Looking for an easy way to stay connected with friends & family virtually? Check out Houseparty: Houseparty Set-Up Directions.pdf


Need a quick tip for taking notes while in a virtual meeting? This link shows how to set up two screens on a Chromebook: 2 screens on a Chrome book 2.3.21.pdf


Bullying is real and parents need real strategies to support their kids. Watch this 8 minute video from Oakland Schools to learn how to help your child navigate through a hurtful situation: PAC February 2021 Bullying 101.mp4

Food Service

Effective, Monday, February 8, 2021, both Middle and High Schools will be expanding their menu to cover 4 days of service.


Lunch will be offered, free, to all students who are attending in person class.


Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Meals are set up as a “Grab and Go” with choices of hot or cold entrees. A free meal consists of entrée, fruit, vegetable and milk.


Wednesday’s Lunch is offered as a “Take Home” to all students every Tuesday, starting February 9. Students can stop by outside the cafeteria on Tuesday’s after school to pick up Wednesday lunch and 5 breakfasts.


Tuesday “Take Home” meals consist of:

(5) Breakfast, (5) Juice and (5) 8oz Milk

(1) Lunch, (1) Fruit, (1) Vegetable and (1) 8oz Milk



Ala Carte Milk: .50 cents (Milk is only free with a school lunch.)


Supply Chain Struggles: Menu is subject to change, if product is not available from the manufacturer.

Menu items will be replaced with something similar or a different item.


Menu is located on the District Website under the Food Service Department.


Transportation

Reminder that students will need to keep their face mask on during the entire ride to/from school.


Students will be assigned a seat by the driver. When possible, they will be seated with a sibling. It is possible students may be seated with someone they do not know.

Drivers will try to space students out however there are some routes where social distancing is not possible. It is important to use hand sanitizer and keep face mask on the entire ride to/from school.


Remember to not send their child on the bus/to school if they are showing symptoms of illness.

Note: In regards to bus drivers wearing face masks - there may be situations where it is not safe for the bus driver to wear a facial covering. If it hinders their driving in any way, they are allowed to pull it down.

Wellness: Mental Health

Staying mentally healthy during a pandemic can be challenging, but help is available. Connect with emotional-support resources and services without having to leave home.


https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98178_99557---,00.html

Wellness: Vaccines for Staff

We are aware that districts in some counties have been able to set up vaccine clinics for their staff. The Oakland County Health Department has chosen a vaccine model that is structured around common vaccination sites throughout the county rather than sites and dates for each of their 28 school districts. We have reached out to other health providers in an attempt to get more of our staff vaccinated and will continue to do so. If you have connections with a healthcare provider who is able to set up clinics for local districts, please contact Sue Toth at toths@slcs.us.