COVID-19 Update: Governor Orders Schools Closed for Remainder of Year

Dear BCPS Families,

Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order to officially close Michigan schools for the remainder of the school year due to the ongoing situation with COVID-19. This means that BCPS schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year. We don’t yet know if or how this will impact the start date of the 2020-21 school year.

BCPS has been working hard to plan for this, and it is our top priority to ensure that students and families are supported during this time. We understand the strain that extended school closure places on families, and we are working to help reduce this burden in as many ways as we can.

Meal Pickups: The community is working together now to explore what may be possible for meal pickups during extended closure. It is unclear how it will look or what agency will support meal distribution but we are confident that food support will continue in some form. We are working alongside our community partners to find a solution, and will share more information when it is available.

Ongoing Learning: To support ongoing learning, we are putting in place a robust At-Home Learning Plan, which will include both online and offline opportunities for students to continue moving forward academically. Teachers will be assigning recommended work each week and will be available to support students during set office hours. Teachers will be sharing assignments with students weekly, tracking their completion, and providing feedback to support student learning. We will be sharing the details of the At-Home Learning Plan and answering any questions you may have about it on a Facebook Livestream late next week.

We are pleased that the legislature has ensured that instructional staff will continue to be paid through the scheduled end of the school year and teachers will remain available to support students. We will have more details to share during the announcement next week, but here is a preview of what the At-Home Learning Plan will include:

  • Grades Pre-K-5: At-home learning will use packets along with specific instructions from each student’s teacher. The first at-home learning packet is scheduled to arrive in homes next week. Teachers may also provide video lessons, activities for completion on Clever, or utilize other platforms.
  • Grades 6-12: At-home learning will prioritize digital learning. We are currently working on a technology support plan, exploring ways we may be able to provide internet or technology support to some families that don't currently have it. At this time, state funding will not support the purchase of new technology, but we are mobilizing quickly to distribute the technology we do have and to buy more. Students in grades 6-8 will also receive packets mailed home, with the first packet scheduled to arrive in homes next week. More details will be announced next week.

Graduation and information for seniors: The Governor’s order states that high school seniors will graduate if they were on pace to do so before the state-mandated shutdown on March 16. Counselors and teachers will continue to support seniors with weekly check-ins for academic help, credit recovery and steps to make the transition on to college, technical school, or a career as smooth as possible. We are also working hard for a plan to recognize and celebrate our graduating seniors and will share more information as soon as we have it.

Grade advancement K-11: Students in grades K-11 will also advance to their next grade at the beginning of the next school year if they were on track to do so as of March 16. We are working to identify all students who may not have been on track and will reach out to their families directly with more specific next steps. The requirements of the Read by Grade Three “Third Grade Reading Law” will not be enforced this school year.

We are not going to let COVID-19 take away our school pride and the spirit of support in our community. We encourage you to engage with district and school pages on Facebook and to use our online community to share uplifting messages. Bearcat pride is very much alive! We believe in one another and we Believe in Battle Creek.

We recognize the heroism of so many parents and families in our community who are doing their best to provide for their families and keep their children safe and learning during these uncertain times. Thank you so much for your leadership and support through everything. We are so proud of our community. In the midst of a crisis, Battle Creek has shown that it is truly full of heroes who help one another.