Dowagiac Union High School closes for three days due to COVID-19

Published 3:44 pm Friday, October 30, 2020

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DOWAGIAC — Dowagiac Union High School is closing in-person learning for three days due to a shortage of staff, the school announced Friday. 

According to the district, the decision was made due to the high school’s teaching staff being challenged and reduced in number due to COVID-19 and other causes. Students will have distance learning from Monday, Nov. 2 to Wednesday, Nov. 4.

“To assist us with our assessment of the high school’s status, we have consulted with the Health Department and other area schools that have dealt with a reduction of their teaching force in an individual building due to illness,” Wrote Superintendent Jonathan Whan in a letter to parents Friday. “We have learned that there is no magical formula or plan for determining when a school should shift to a remote learning process. However, we did gain some insight and will apply it to the best of our ability now and in the future. As a staff, they have been working very hard to meet the students’ needs, and assist with the coverage of other staff members when substitute teachers have not been available. Even with their great effort, the final assessment has led me to decide to move the high school to distance learning instruction for at least three days.”
Students took their Chromebooks home on Friday and will follow the schedule that was used during the first five weeks of the school year. In-person learning is set to resume Thursday, Nov. 5, though the decision to extend distance learning through the end of the week will be made by midday on Wednesday and shared with parents at that time.
“We hope that over the five days, Saturday tough Wednesday, this will allow the teaching staff to regain the strength of numbers to continue with in person instruction on Thursday, Nov. 5,” Whan said.
Families needing supplies and materials for distance learning are asked to contact the high school administration to establish a plan for pickup of the needed supplies. The buildings will be limited to a single entrance point during the three days. The district will give the building additional deep cleaning to prepare for students’ return.
“It is essential that when we can return to the high school, students who are ill, showing symptoms of C-19, or who know they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for C-19 that they remain home,” Whan said. “I know it is challenging to do so, but in-person instruction is far superior to distance learning, and we must all do our part to allow for as much face to face instruction throughout the year as possible. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve you and your family, especially as we face this challenging situation together. Thank you for your support.”