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MPS Announces 2020-21 School Year To Begin with Distance Learning

Good Evening Mason Bulldog Family,

Since COVID-19 closed our schools in March, we have had a heightened focus on the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff. Today, that is no different. Last night the Mason Public Schools Board of Education held a special meeting to discuss and vote on our return to school plans. The Board looked at health research and recommendations, family and staff survey data, the work of and suggestions from the Reimagining and Reopening of School Committee, guidance from the Michigan Department of Education, and the requirements in Michigan’s Return to School Roadmap to render its decision.

After a thorough discussion of the information provided and listening to public comment, the Board of Education voted to begin the school year with a distance learning model that supports all students on August 26. The District will also develop a plan for face-to-face instruction to be presented to the Board of Education on September 14. The decision was not made lightly, and we recognize this will not be the best scenario for all families and staff. This is the best way to get the school year started and plan for a return to face-to-face instruction, while keeping our students and staff safe.

What does this mean? Distance learning means that students will not be in the building, they will be learning from home. Based on feedback from families and staff, our distance learning model will be very different from the spring. Here is what we know now:

  • Students and staff in grades K-2 will use Seesaw for classroom activities.
  • Students and staff grades 3-12 will use Google Classroom for classroom activities.
  • Chromebooks will be available for all students.
  • Hot spots will be available for families that qualify.
  • Five days of live instruction will be provided, by Mason teachers with online curriculum. Some sessions may be recorded to review at a later date.
  • A combination of small group and large group instruction will take place online.
  • Schedules will be set up and followed at the elementary and middle/high school levels.
  • Grades will be recorded and student engagement will be reported.
  • Students will take assessments to keep track of their progress and close learning gaps.
  • The district will look at options for one-on-one or small group in-person instruction to support at-risk students and students with special needs.

We will finalize our distance learning plans and communicate the details by grade level as soon as possible.

As we move forward, we yearn to hear children laughing in our hallways, cheers from our stadiums, and seeing our students collaborating with staff during in-person instruction. Our top consideration in all of this is the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff. We are being cautious and appreciate your patience as we work towards getting back to in-person instruction.

The Board of Education wanted families and staff to be informed so they could begin making plans before school gets underway. We thank you all for sharing your feedback, being flexible, and for reaching out to the District. We have proven over the months that we are stronger, smarter, safer together.

Sincerely,

Ron Drzewicki