Cassopolis schools to move all students to remote learning through the end of the year

Published 9:43 am Tuesday, November 17, 2020

CASSOPOLIS — Soon, all students at Cassopolis Public Schools will be switching to remote learning.

In keeping with the most recent Michigan Department of Health and Human Services order, Cassopolis High School will begin remote learning Wednesday to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. While the order only suspends in-person learning through Dec. 7, the Cassopolis School District will be keeping high school students remote through the end of the year, with in-person instruction to resume in the spring semester on Jan. 11, 2021.

Additionally, while the order did not include middle and elementary schools in the closure of in-person learning, Cassopolis Public Schools will be moving Cassopolis Middle School and Sam Adams Elementary School to remote education following the Thanksgiving holiday break. Remote learning for those schools will begin Nov. 30 and continue through Jan. 11, 2021.

According to Superintendent Angela Piazza, the decision was made to prevent the spread of illnesses that might be contracted and spread over the course of Thanksgiving and winter break.

“After a lot of talks with the administration team and looking at our historical data, historically, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we see an influx of flu and respiratory viruses,” she said during Monday’s board of education meeting. “Our attendance between both staff and students is generally lower between Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

Piazza said expected illnesses and absences between Thanksgiving and Christmas would place a burden on staff who are already stretched thin due to COVID-19-related absences.

“We have been by a shoestring to keep our doors open with the staff we’ve had to quarantine,” Piazza said. “One more person to get ill — not with COVID — we would completely close down.”

While Piazza said the decision to move to virtual learning through the end of the year was not easy, she believes it is best for both staff and students.

“Just looking at the numbers, just looking at we already have many of our students moving to virtual, we felt it would be in the best interest to allow for that consistency, to give our parents a heads up so they can start their routines,” she said. “We felt it was better than to operate on a shoestring and say, ‘maybe we will be open, maybe we won’t be open,’ and have that back and forth. … We just felt overall, for the safety of our students and staff, for the sake of consistency and keeping some type of quality continuation of learning that it was best to move to virtual.”