MCC to offer students options for school year.

July 20, 2020

MCC to offer students options for school year.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

SCOTTVILLE — Mason County Central Superintendent Jeff Mount announced this morning on the district’s Facebook page that the district will offer its students the options of face-to-face instruction or learning from home instruction during the upcoming 2020-2021 school year. 

“The Mason County Central School District believes that in-person instruction is best for student learning while acknowledging that the threat of COVID-19 has challenged our ability to provide face to face instruction as our sole method for teaching children,” Mount said. “We understand that anything less than a full-time, in-person school schedule strains many of our parents who have to go to work and cannot be home with their children. 

“We also recognize that because of medically fragile students, at-risk family members, or other issues, some families may not be comfortable returning to a traditional classroom until a vaccine for COVID-19 is widely available.”

Mount said the State of Michigan is recommending schools provide five full days of face-to-face instruction when the state’s COVID-19 response is in phase 4 or above (based on Gov. Whitmer’s back to school phased plan) or virtual instruction if the region is in phase 1 to 3. 

Mount said, assuming the region is in phase 4 or above when the school year begins, the district will offer families the choice of either face-to-face instruction or learning from home: 

Traditional schooling would follow the guidelines based upon the Michigan’s 2020-21 Return to School Roadmap .

Learning from home would emphasize the level of instruction and learning expectations will be equal to a traditional schooling environment, Mount said, meaning students will be expected to turn in assignments and will be graded based on traditional learning. This is different than the end of the previous school year where students were basically given credit for participating but not graded. 

“Because it was the end of the school year, this past spring’s lessons and learning were focused more on review and enrichment,” Mount said.  “With the start of the new school year, instruction and learning will shift back into more of a new learning/instructional mode with grades and credits being earned by students.”

In the LFH model, teachers will post assignments and videos, host video chats, etc., with a specified timeline that will need to be strictly adhered to by students.

“The safety guidelines and plans set for our schools and facilities are based upon Michigan’s 2020-21 Return to School Roadmap and are fluid and subject to change, as the safety of our students and staff are our top priority,” Mount said. 

“If, after reading the guidelines, plans and safety precautions, you remain uncomfortable with returning your child to a traditional classroom, you may opt to participate in our revised Learn from Home (LFH) model with the following stipulations:

“Your commitment to the LFH model will be for a complete trimester (approximately 12 weeks). Students will not be able to shift back and forth between traditional learning and the LFH model during the respective grading periods.”

The LFH model will rely on the Google Classroom platform where LFH teachers will post instructional assignments, so students will need to have a computer at home. Families that do not have a computer may check one out from the school, Mount said. “If need be, the Mason County Central School District will work with families to support parents in online learning.”

Mount added that the district will plan to add online components to all instruction that will support a transition to online instruction if the region moves to phase 1 through 3. Online instructional strategies will train students and families to use electronic modes of instruction.

Mount added that parents of students with special needs should consider their options carefully.

“There is no one-size-fits-all approach, especially when we are considering the needs of our special learners,” Mount said. “Every Individual Education Plan (IEP) is developed based on the student’s needs. Students with learning and attention challenges may struggle in the school environment and require hands-on instructional and behavioral supports. These supports may be impossible to duplicate in a virtual setting. It is recommended that parents of students with disabilities who are receiving special education services only consider the LFH option if their child’s health is already compromised. However, if the need is there, we will do our best to partner with parents and provide the best education possible.”

Students who opt to learn from home due to safety concerns will still be permitted to participate in extracurricular school sports, clubs and organizations which operate under the auspices of the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA). The MHSAA permits student involvement as long as they maintain the eligibility requirements of the MHSAA.

“We are scheduling all Pre-K through 12 students in the traditional schooling model, expecting all students to return to school on September 8,” Mount said.  “If parents plan to send their child/children to school under this model, no further action is required.”

For questions, email [email protected] or call 231-757-3713 or contact the specific building principal: High School, Jeff Tuka, 231-757-4748, ext. 220; Middle School, Rob Dennis, 231-757-3724, ext. 320; Upper Elementary, Kevin Kimes, 231-757-5720, ext. 420; Scottville Elementary, Chris Etchison, 231-757-4701, ext. 520.

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This story is copyrighted © 2020, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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