December 2020

A Message from Superintendent Jason Mellema

We know this has been a school year like no other. There have been schedule changes, new protocols to follow, and information coming at you from every direction as we follow the state requirements. We want to thank all of our students and families for your support and diligence in keeping our students and staff safe when in our buildings. Please watch this video from Superintendent Jason Mellema.

We hope you are all able to take some time over the next two weeks to enjoy some downtime and relax. From all of us at Ingham ISD, Happy Holidays! 

Superintendent Holiday Message 12.17.2020

Classes Resume January 4 Remotely Through January 8 

As communicated to all families on November 25, remote learning for Ingham ISD programs will be extended through Friday, January 8, 2021 as outlined below. As of right now, in-person instruction will resume on Monday, January 11, 2021, unless we receive additional direction or extended emergency orders from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for the following programs: 

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder Programs in East Lansing and Stockbridge 
  • Evergreen 
  • Heartwood School 
  • Project SEARCH 
  • Secondary Learning Center (SLC) 
  • Skills for Adult Independent Living (SAIL)  
  • Wilson Talent Center 

If your child's program is not listed above, you will be hearing directly from program leadership about their return schedule. 

This decision was made out of an abundance of caution due to the surging number of both new and percent positive COVID-19 cases our communities have been experiencing and the potential for insufficient staffing for in-person learning due to quarantines. Prior to the most recent Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) order, if the program was providing instruction in cohorts or attending in-person full-time, those structures will remain in place when resuming in-person instruction on January 11, 2021. Please note that should the MDHHS extend the current order and we need to push back the in-person return date beyond January 11, 2021, we will notify families and staff as soon as possible. 

We are very fortunate not to have any active transmission/spread in any of our Ingham ISD programs/buildings thus far. However, when individuals have to quarantine (either staff or students), in-person learning may become a challenge and remote learning may be necessary.  We are grateful to families and staff for continuing to adhere to safety precautions, health screening guidelines, extensive cleaning protocols, and the wearing of personal protective equipment to keep our learning environments as safe as possible. 

As always, if you have any questions, please reach out to your student's building principal or program administrator. 

Extended COVID-19 Learning Plan Update 

In August of 2020, legislation was signed into law that requires school districts to prepare an Extended COVID-19 Learning Plan and have it recertified monthly by their Board of Education for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year. This plan helps guarantee that each school district is providing, to the best of their ability, different types of instruction to help students stay on pace with their learning whether they are in-person or learning remotely. 

A dedicated team of professionals from various Ingham ISD program areas meet monthly to make any necessary adjustments to our plan prior to our board meetings based on recent MDHHS epidemic orders. The most recently approved plan is always available for viewing on the transparency reporting page of our website. 

Many of our programs surveyed families regarding your thoughts on remote instruction, cohorts/in-person learning, and health and cleaning protocols. We want to thank all of you for taking the time to share your thoughts with our leadership teams. Your input is valuable as we make decisions about the future. It is likely that we will be surveying families again in the new year to hear from you as we move forward.  

Inclement Weather Days 

We've learned a lot this year from COVID-19. Remote learning is a way to continue learning when inclement weather appears. When we created the student handbook this summer, we were hopeful that our school year would be a little different than last spring. Now that the school year is underway and COVID-19 is still active, we have one change to the student handbook we want you to be aware of for planning purposes.  

For the remainder of this school year, if inclement weather comes to our area, we will move to remote instruction. Now that we have the technology and ability to teach remotely, we are planning for online delivery of instruction. Please be prepared to have your child learn from home as necessary. Staff will either be able to teach remotely or go into the building and teach from their classroom, whichever they prefer. If by chance Ingham ISD makes the decision to close the district entirely instead of moving to remote instruction, we will clearly state that in our messaging.  

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your principal or program administrator. 

Welcome to the October issue of The Times. “The Times” was designed to reflect that our programs are moving forward and celebrating education in a new way. We hope you enjoy this issue.

Podcast 

Ingham ISD continues to educate and provide strong supports for students and families during COVID-19. Our Early Childhood specialists and instructors in  Skills for Adult Independent Living (SAIL)  go above and beyond to adapt and work together in order find the best learning solutions for each student. Check out this podcast that shows just a fraction of what they do every day for learners.

Together We Persevere Podcast - click to watch

Thank you

This school year has been quite a journey! We want to thank all of our families for your diligence in reporting COVID-19 cases. Doing the right things to ensure the safety of yourself and others really goes a long way to minimize the spread. We have had a few positive COVID-19 cases this year and we did not see a spread beyond the initial identified individual. Staying home when you are sick, continuing health screening, washing your hands, keeping socially distant when possible, is truly making a difference. Thank you for your continued support! 

Safety Protocols 

Safety protocols are so important to keep our students and staff safe. As more cases continue to rise in our state, we want to reinforce preventative measures, checking for symptoms and how we work with the ICHD to report positive COVID-19 cases.  

Preventative Measures 

Take as many preventative measures as possible. 

  • Stay home if you're sick 
  • Wear a mask 
  • Wash your hands often 
  • Social distance when possible 
  • Keep surfaces clean 
  • Use a health screener to ensure you are healthy 
Symptoms 

Please screen your child for symptoms daily before leaving for school. If your child has ANY of the following symptoms or has been in close contact (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes) with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, your child should be EXCLUDED from in-person school. 

  1. Child has ANY of the following symptoms (new/different/worse from baseline of any chronic illness):  
    • Temperature 100.0 F or signs of fever (chills/sweating)  
    • Sore throat  
    • New uncontrolled cough that causes difficulty breathing  
    • Diarrhea, vomiting or abdominal pain  
    • New onset of severe headache 
  2. Child has had close contact (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes) with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days.  

DISCLAIMER: This screening tool is subject to change based on the latest information on COVID-19. 

Health Department 

We work with the Ingham County Health Department when a positive COVID case is identified to determine close contacts and initiate contact tracing. If you receive a call from the health department, it is critically important that you answer the phone, to allow them to verify any needed information about COVID.  

COVID-19 Dashboard 

On Tuesday, October 6, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHSS) issued an emergency order requiring all K-12 schools to provide public notice of any probable or confirmed COVID-19 cases in their district. 

Ingham ISD has created a COVID-19 Dashboard on our website. This dashboard will be updated as we receive information from the Ingham County Health Department (ICHD). Ingham ISD will continue to work closely with and seek guidance from the ICHD in determining who needs to receive notification about probable/positive cases through contact tracing, and they will determine the need for any building closures. We sincerely appreciate the guidance and partnership the ICHD has provided us during this time. 

As we all know, orders and requirements are constantly changing. We will continue to provide timely updates to our families and staff as information becomes available. One thing that will NOT change is that student and staff safety will continue to be our top priority. 

Did You Know? 

Did you know there are a variety of family resources available on our Education Reimagined website? This site was developed as a collaboration between local public school districts and intermediate school districts in Region 5 of the Governor's Economic Recovery Council Reporting Regions. Some of the topics covered include child care services, instruction, mental and social-emotional health as well as safety tips. Check it out! 

Last spring we began sending families involved in Ingham ISD programs and services a newsletter called, “Stronger Together” as we navigated finishing the school year amid COVID-19. We received a very positive response to this newsletter so we want to continue sharing news with families during the 2020-21 school year. We are renaming this newsletter “The Times” to reflect that we are moving forward and celebrating education in a new way. We hope you enjoy this first issue.

Podcast - New Year, New Ways to Connect

When a new year starts with so many unknowns, we are all cautious. Many of the programs and services offered through Ingham ISD are most effective when offered face-to-face. With that in mind, we are working hard to balance safety while providing the best educational experience possible. This short 3-minute podcast is a great example of our staff and student connections during this uncertain time and preparing for the move to virtual if that is needed. Thank you to our staff and to our families for continuing to work together!

Podcast New Year New Ways to Connect

Extended Continuity of Learning Plan

When schools were closed last March due to COVID-19, school districts were required to prepare a Continuity of Learning Plan (COL) to ensure that each school district was providing, to the best of their ability, students with different types of instruction to help them stay on pace with their learning.

New legislation requires school districts to prepare an Extended Continuity of Learning Plan (ECOL) and have it re-certified monthly by their board of education for the remainder of the school year. Our plan will be updated regularly and placed on the transparency reporting section of our website.

Ingham ISD Program & Service 2020-21 School Year Plans

All of Ingham ISD programs and services continue to deliver instruction that best meets the needs of their families while keeping students safe. Some programs are fully face-to-face, some using cohort models and some delivering online instruction. Each program area has developed a companion plan to accompany our Extended Continuity of Learning Plan (ECOL). These Program Preparedness & Response Plans are also available for viewing on our website.

Transition Program Making the Most of Online Learning

Students and staff from our Skills for Adult Independent Living (SAIL) program have been making the most out of online learning. Over the summer they hosted online pizza parties and now that school has resumed with a hybrid plan, they are continuing to host book studies, library guests and working on their money skills through a variety of games.

According to Sarah Winslow, Director of Transition Services, this team has continued to build relationships, engage with students and keep up the teaching and learning through this time of blended instruction. Thank you to our SAIL Team for all you are doing to keep students engaged!

Fall Fun Fest

Ingham ISD's Special Education Parent Advisory Council is hosting the annual Fall Fun Fest online! In place of the in-person event this year, we will offer an online resource opportunity. The goal of this event is to provide families of students with an Individual Education Plan vital resources to navigate the world of special education. There are a variety of community partners with information on things such as transportation, immunizations, early childhood programs, transition programs and more.

Safety Protocols In Place

Ingham ISD is following all safety protocols recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Ingham County Health Department (ICHD). All students and staff are required to wear face masks, socially distance whenever possible, and are encouraged to regularly wash their hands. Temperature checks are not required but are recommended by the health department. Therefore, Ingham ISD is taking the extra step to check student temperatures prior to entering buildings for now. The ICHD has a variety of data, tools, tips and guidance for schools available on their website.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact us at Ingham ISD Communications.