The Au Gres-Sims School District
Hello Au Gres-Sims Families,
This week I'd like to update you on the status of our high school in-person learning.
On Sunday, November 15th, Governor Whitmer and Robert Gordon, the head of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, issued an order closing high schools across the state for three weeks, starting on Wednesday the 18th. That original order was made for three weeks, meaning high school students across Michigan transitioned to virtual learning on November 18th and will remain on that format until December 9th. For AGS high school students, our penciled in date of return is Thursday, November 10, since the whole district maintains a virtual Wednesday format.
This week the governor held a press conference amidst rumors that the order would be extended. In the press conference, a decision to allow the order to expire or to extend was not made, with the governor deferring to the numbers and stating that the decision would be made closer to the end date of the original order. The implied message of the press conference is that there would be another, decisive press conference closer to December 8.
So, what does this all mean for us now? What this means is that we are planning for two potential courses of action for our high school students next week; one in which they return to in-person instruction on Thursday, December 10th and another in which virtual learning is extended. Regardless of which option is chosen at the state level the AGS plan is to communicate out to our families by no later than Wednesday, December 9th the learning plan for our high school students moving forward. We will be doing a phone call and posting other forms of communication to keep our community informed. We also hope to be able to provide an athletic update at that time as well.
We know that the uncertainty and fluidity of the school schedule has been challenging this year. While we hope that we are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel, we know that there is still more fogginess in the immediate future and we are committed to providing the communication necessary for our community to be in the know.
Thank you for continuing to be a partner in your child's education and for working with the district as we navigate this pandemic #AGSInThisTogether.
Have a great weekend,
For quite a few years our elementary school has had the opportunity to work with Mr. Josh Miller in a program called, “Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds”. Because of Covid, we haven’t had the opportunity to work with him this year as directly as we have had in previous years. But, that isn’t stopping Mr. Miller from sharing some of his knowledge with us. I hope you have a chance to check out the following newsletter (for all ages) from Mr. Miller and “Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds”. https://www.smore.com/9cp1w
Winter break is quickly approaching. With that comes various requests into our office from families to take some extra time off and take extended vacations to countries outside of the US. With Covid, we are using guidance from the CDC to help us in answering families questions regarding returning to school. To access this information go to cdc.gov, then click on “Travelers Health” and scroll down to “Destinations”. From there, it will take you to your next screen where you will need to click on “Where are you going?” and you can pick your travel destination. This will bring up the guidelines specific to your area of destination. One of the very first things you will see is the Level of Risk (1-4) with a link entitled, “Covid 19 in ______”. Clicking on this will provide to you the guidance you need to help determine what your return to school will look like.
With our winter weather upon us, please make sure you keep your information in Skyward updated so that you are receiving all of the relevant school closing information. Thanks!
From the Desk of Mrs. Socha
We are looking forward to having our high school students back on campus next week, providing the suspension of in-person instruction is not extended. This temporary move back to virtual afforded us the opportunity to send some reminders about our asynchronous virtual model. At the beginning of this week, I sent an email to all secondary students in 6th through 12th grade, reminding them of the flexibility of the asynchronous model, but also reiterating the importance of turning things in within a reasonable amount of time, as set forth by the posted due dates. These dates provide the students with a timeline of what is reasonable, especially since content often relies on previous knowledge. I also reminded them that the expectation would still be to expect several hours worth of work for each school day. Students can quickly discover that delaying work for days or weeks at a time would not only become overwhelming, but also make it very difficult to get caught up. These due dates are important to help keep you on track. In short, turning in work months later would not be considered a reasonable amount of time, so I am hoping that this reminder will be helpful for students to keep on track. As always, please remember to reach out to your teachers for questions. High school students, your teachers would LOVE to see your faces at their Google Meets!
We are always fortunate for each day that allows us to continue instruction face-to-face with as many students as possible. I am so proud of how well students are continuing to follow these safety protocols, even with our youngest students! These protocols are one of the many reasons that we have been able to continue with this option for instruction. On the same token, the Wednesday virtual days are also equally as important, in order to continue to practice the skills of virtual learning in case we need to return to that model, as well as having the opportunity to deep clean the building. Please be sure that your student is still engaging on those virtual Wednesdays. This will help them to be more prepared in the event that we do need to revert back to virtual learning.
One final reminder for this week - if your family does make the choice to switch to virtual learning for the remainder of the semester, please be sure to contact the main office and let us know. This helps with attendance, adjustments in services or curriculum needs, along with many other data pieces that we are monitoring. Furthermore, if you are required to quarantine due to exposure, please let us know that as well. It is important that we are up to date on the status of each student, so that we know how to best meet their needs. Thank you in advance for helping us with this matter!
Benefits of Physical Activity
Now that we have made it past Thanksgiving, we can start looking forward to Christmas...including the candy, cookies and other holiday treats of the season. There are so many wonderful things to eat this time of year. With all this eating, some of us may notice a physical change and commit to increased physical activity to combat the weight gain. But physical activity is not only good for the body, it can also boost our mental and emotional health.
When it comes to making positive lifestyle changes, increasing the level of physical activity is one of the simplest and most effective steps can be taken. Physical activity has been shown to help emotionally by:
• Leading to improved self-esteem.
• Relieving stress by burning off stress chemicals such as adrenaline.
• Providing distraction from negative thinking.
• Improving quality of sleep.
• Stimulating the body’s release of endorphins, which are chemicals that have a naturally relaxing and calming effect on the body.
• Reducing the severity of depressive symptoms.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, stress levels are especially high among students. The shift to some or all online learning, limited access to friends and family, disruption of routine activities, etc. all contribute to heightened stress levels. Regular physical activity has shown to reduce stress levels, but sometimes getting motivated to begin exercising is difficult.
If an additional “push” to get serious about exercise is needed, keep in mind there are both immediate and long-term benefits:
• Immediate: regulating mood and lessening depressive symptoms.
• Long-term: greater strength, more energy, weight loss, muscle toning.
Research has shown that aerobic (or heart-rate elevating) activities can produce the most dramatic results, but other forms of exercise, such as strength training or conditioning, are also effective. Choose from a wide variety of activities!
When we make exercise a priority on your daily calendar, we’ll be less likely to forget or neglect it. Start slowly and increase activity level over time. Keep a record of activity levels. Of course there will be times when, for one reason or another, we fall short of our exercise goals. Keep going, and remember that every effort is worthwhile. Maybe with an increase in exercise now we can bypass the weight gain of the season, with the extra bonus keeping our stress levels in check. Stay healthy!