Edwardsburg Public Schools plan for in person instruction

EDWARDSBURG — Edwardsburg Public Schools recently released its back to school plan.

In the plan, it is recommended that in Phase 4 and Phase 5, EPS will be offering face-to-face instruction in as “normal” a format as permitted: five days a week, and as close to a regular schedule as possible.

The decision to open school in a face-to-face format was made based on the information EPS received from many sources, according to superintendent James Knoll.

“First and most importantly, the local and state health officials believe by following the Roadmap, we can open schools safely,” Knoll wrote in a letter to district families. “Next, it is undeniable that with the options available, the best learning environment/alternative for students and teachers is in the class room. Lastly and overwhelmingly, our survey results indicate that students, families, and employees, want schools to open. Please keep in mind that the returning Phase and format will ultimately be directed by the governor.”

In all Phases, EPS will offer a virtual option (also known as online, e-school or cyber-school) teaching students online – for families that are uncomfortable attending school face-to-face or have some underlying health concern.   The virtual instruction choice is a semester-long commitment.  All classes will be taken virtually until the end of the first semester.  If a student or family chooses, the virtual option can be extended for the entire school year.  Two factors make this requirement necessary.

  • First, the virtual financial commitment from the district will not be refunded once the virtual classes are purchased.
  • Secondly, teachers will have a difficult time integrating students back and forth in the curricular sequence.

Students who choose the virtual option will still be eligible for athletics.  At the kindergarten through eighth grade level, Calvert Learning is the name of the virtual program. For the ninth through 12th grade, Edgenuity is the name of virtual program.

Knoll said staff has been advised by the Van Buren/Cass District Health Department to handle each potential viral situation on a case-by-case basis with contact tracing, notification and/or quarantine. If necessary, or directed by state or local health officials, EPS is prepared to revert from a face-to-face format to a remote format where Edwardsburg teachers are providing instruction using Google Classroom.

The format and expectations for this remote instructional experience will be quite different than in the spring, Knoll said. The expectations and accountability for administration, teachers, families, and students will be much higher.

“We encourage all EPS families to resist the temptation to disparage and condemn the plan on social media,” Knoll said. “Your school and community leaders have spent many hours agonizing over the decisions made within the document.  We understand the strong emotions of the situation, and that you may not agree with parts or all of the plan, but mean criticism and vilification will not improve the plan. Please call the specific building or central administration with your suggestions, concerns or questions. We are confident the Edwardsburg Community will choose to move forward in a positive and productive manner.”

The full back to school plan and roadmap can be viewed on the district’s website.

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