Oriole News: LHS offering options for upcoming school year.

August 13, 2020

Assistant Principal Steve Forsberg and Principal Dan Mesyar.

Oriole News: LHS offering options for upcoming school year.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief

Oriole News is a presentation of Ludington Area School District in cooperation with Mason County Press. 

LUDINGTON — Ludington High School’s administration and staff have been working diligently to prepare for the upcoming school year. Principal Dan Mesyar said he and his staff have been making contact with every LHS student and family to discuss their back-to-school plans. 

The high school is offering face-to-face instruction, with COVID-19 safety protocols based on Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. It is also offering stay-at-home instruction or a hybrid program based on the student’s needs. 

Mesyar said currently only 10% of LHS students have indicated they plan to be fully online. 

“If students do not indicate they plan to stay at home, or would like to discuss other options, it is assumed they are coming back to the building for instruction,” Mesyar said. Once a decision is made, that student must continue that particular learning path for the entire trimester. 

Principal Dan Mesyar tries out a hand sanitizing station.

“We’ve been getting some good feedback from families,” Mesyar said. “Ultimately we have to do what’s best for the families.” 

Assistant Principal Steve Forsberg said LHS faculty members have been preparing to return to face-to-face learning but have also become proficient in online learning. 

“We have offered the Canvas online learning platform for several years, but this coming school year, teachers will be utilizing many more features of the program,” Foresberg said. “We do believe that you can’t take the place of the high quality of learning from professional educators and that face-to-face is the best option. But, we also understand the concerns of many families and are doing our best to accommodate for those concerns.” 

Canvas allows students and teachers to communicate in many different ways. It features real-time interaction, video conferencing, and many educational tools, Mesyar said. It is also utilized by several other schools, along with West Shore Community College. 

Mesyar said if families have concerns about returning to the school building, they should reach out to their child’s principal as soon as possible. 

“The high school staff is making a point to communicate with families whenever it’s convenient for that family,” Mesyar said. “I would encourage parents of children from all grade levels to make sure they talk to the principal.” 

Numerous safety measures are being put in place in all school buildings. At the high school, there are multiple sanitizing stations. Students who do not bring their own masks, will have a disposable one furnished to them. Upon entering the high school foyer, there is a “sick” room for students who may be feeling ill. The room is being built with walls that can be easily sanitized. The hallways will be split for one-way walking and social distancing signs will be frequent. Face-to-face seating in the cafeteria will not be allowed. 

“We also want students and their families to understand that online learning will be much more vigor this coming school year than it was last spring,” Foresberg said. “This is a true statement for all grade levels. In the spring, schools were shut down abruptly and the direction from the State of Michigan was for the school year to be completed with basically little accountability. That rigor is back. Online learning is a full schedule of learning and not be less demanding than face-to-face instruction.” 

Mesyar and Foresberg both emphasized that they understand there are students who may need other options and they are willing to work with those students and their families. However, no matter the path, the outcome must be the same. 

“We need to make sure that our students are getting the goods this year. That’s a big emphasis by us in this school,” Mesyar said. 

“In the spring, our goal was to provide a lot of social and emotional support for our students,” Foresberg said. “That is still a major goal of ours, but now we also will add the important goal of providing more learning support. There will be more opportunities for students to work with tutors, we will also have online office hours.”

Mesyar said he is excited about the changes that have been made. 

“I think our entire staff is energized and ready to get back to school,” Mesyar said, adding that many of the new changes may be a way of learning in the future as well. 

“It’s going to be a great year of learning for all students,” he said. 

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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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