Communication on the Coronavirus (Covid-19)
Message below is from the superintendent on April 2, 2020.
Good afternoon parents, this is Vaughn White, Superintendent of Hesperia Community Schools with a brief message.
Parents, Governor Whitmer today declared that schools will be closed for the rest of this school year. This does not mean that education won’t continue. We will be challenged to develop a plan to educate your children while they are safe at home. As I am speaking, I know I am far from answering the many questions you have. My intent is to give you confidence that we will develop a plan moving forward that will eventually answer those questions. This will take some time.
Let me begin with the calendar date of April 20th that Newaygo County Schools will use as a target for implementation of our Continuous Learning Plan. Working back from that date, we will design the process that teachers will have in order to meet the needs of our students. We will do this as a team, working cooperatively together of create best plan possible.
We appreciate your input on our student internet and device survey. This was helpful for us to understand what online resources are available in our family’s homes. Our plan will most likely coordinate a combination of both electronic and paper resources to meet the vast array of student needs. There is much work to be done, but a plan will be created and implemented.
I am offering some of the highlights that will help better understand the flexibility the Governor is offering as we move forward. They include the following:
Students will not receive grades or assessments for online or packet learning.
Attendance will not be taken daily, but rather through the overall participation in the process.
Students will not be taking the M-STEP, PSAT, or SAT at school this year.
All students who were on track to be promoted to the next grade or graduate will still do so.
Students will not be penalized in any way if they are unable to complete assignments due to lack of resources.
All Newaygo County school districts are brainstorming how and when to hold graduation ceremonies later this summer, if allowed to do so by the State of Michigan.
Parents, although academic support is important, I assure you our teachers and staff miss your kids very much and are very concerned for their wellness and safety during this crisis. Please follow the guidelines put forth by our government in order to keep all of us safe and well in our district.
I appreciate your patience as we unfold this plan to you over the course of the next couple of weeks.
Message below is from the superintendent on March 31, 2020.
Good morning parents, this is Vaughn White, Superintendent of Hesperia Community Schools.
Parents, it is with a heavy heart that we are expecting school will not be allowed back into session this school year. The Governor may release an executive order soon mandating the close of all Michigan School Districts buildings. This predicted action is to prevent the spread of this very contagious virus. I am sure the decision will be difficult for her to make, but made for the health and safety of all of our families.
We anticipate her order will direct school districts to attempt, to their best abilities, online instruction. We realize this could be an overwhelming task for our teachers and families that do not have or have limited connectivity and devices. This will not only be a challenge for our district, but a challenge for hundreds of school districts across our state. Nonetheless, we will brainstorm ways to make this work for as many of our students as possible. This will require patience and support from all of us.
I know there are many unanswered questions at this point. We will work to answer these questions as we gain more information to develop plans to address educational needs. I am confident that seniors will receive diplomas if they were currently on track with credits before the closure. It is unclear however, if or when, commencement will take place. We just don’t know at this point.
In order for online instruction to have any chance at all, we absolutely need you to take the Student Internet and Device Survey found on our district webpage. This information is critical for us to assess the resources available in your household. Please fill out one survey for each child in your home that attends kindergarten through 12th grade.
Parents, I appreciate your commitment to our district as we work through the upcoming weeks. We know this situation has been extremely difficult and our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Message below is from the superintendent on March 23, 2020.
Good evening parents, this is Vaughn White, Superintendent of Hesperia Community Schools with a brief message.
Parents, the Governor enacted the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order today that places significant limitations on public gathering. We have been fortunate to transport student meals to homes this last week, but now we are obligated to transition to a new process that will significantly reduce the opportunity for our volunteers to be infected by the virus.
We will no longer be distributing food on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Food will now be available at pick up sites on the district premises on Tuesdays and Thursdays to limit the amount of opportunity for exposure. This process will begin on Thursday, March 26th and will follow each Tuesday and Thursday after that through, April 9th. We will not be distributing lunches Wednesday, March 25th.
Distribution of food will take place at the bell tower entrance on the Northside of the building, at the elementary office on the Southside of the building and at the middle school office on the West side of the building. Pick up will between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. and students will receive a 3 day supply of breakfasts and lunches.
It is important that those picking up food from the buildings stay in their vehicles and signal to the volunteers how many meals they need to feed their children. You may choose what distribution point you wish to drive up to. If the line is too long, just drive around the building to another site.
Parents, we are experiencing unprecedented circumstances. We are grateful for the many volunteers that have helped through this process and thankful for their many tireless hours. We can only pray that by obeying the Governor’s proclamation we can get through this crisis. We truly miss our kids and hope we can see them in April!
Stay safe and healthy my friends.
Message below is from the superintendent on March 18, 2020.
Good afternoon parents, this is Vaughn White, Superintendent of Hesperia Community Schools with a brief message.
This afternoon we began the process of distributing school lunches to students using our bus routes. We also gave breakfast and lunch bags out at the bell tower on the north side of school. If your children do not normally ride the bus and you are unable to come into school to pick up a lunch, please contact the bus garage and we will try to get you on a route to drop food off. Simply call Dan Bailey, Transportation Coordinator at 854-9301 and leave a message with the following information: Student first and last names, the home address and your phone number. If you do not wish to take meals for your students, you may also call and leave a message.
Parents, this is a new process for us and it may take some time to get things honed into a good system. We are dependent on many volunteers and we greatly appreciate their support during these difficult times.
Remember to follow the State and Federal guidelines so we can beat this virus and get students back to school.
Thank you and have a great day.
Information regarding free lunches and snacks for students (document may need a pdf reader to view).
Update from Superintendent Vaughn White on March 13, 2020.
Dear Parents and the Hesperia Community,
I am writing with an update regarding the COVID 19 virus and what is known at this point regarding this ever-changing matter.
* Hesperia Community Schools will not be in session from Monday, March 16th through April 5th via the Governor's mandate.
* Hesperia Community Schools will have Spring Break from April 6th through April 12th unless mandated differently by the State. Students and staff would return on April 13th.
* There are to be no events, activities, or practices on the HCS premises during this time.
* Cleaning and disinfecting in the building will continue to occur during this period.
* We are reviewing food distribution options for students but it is too early to clarify if or when this will take place. In the meantime, if you have a critical food shortage, please contact the Hesperia Methodist Church at 854-5345 from 1 to 3 p.m. daily.
* It is yet too early to know anything regarding events scheduled in April.
This is such a difficult and challenging time for us. I know we all can work together to get through this as we are a strong community of giving, caring people. I will continue to communicate through Skylert with postings on Facebook and our webpage as new information is presented or clarifications need to be made.
The information below was sent home with students as a letter from the superintendent on March 3, 2019.
With the increased intensity of news reports and social media posts regarding the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID19), comes speculation about the impact this virus may eventually have on school communities. It is important for you to know the most accurate and timely information about this health concern.
1. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has published a Fact Sheet to explain what the virus is, how it is spread, who is at risk, and how to protect yourself.
2. There is also a CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Frequently Asked Questions document that specifically addresses concerns about children and the virus. It explains that so far there is no evidence to suggest that children are more susceptible to the virus than the general population.
3. Additional updates (including current case information for Michigan) can be found at the MDHHS COVID19 website (Michigan Department of Health and Human Services website).
As always, our schools work closely with public health officials and follow all of their expert recommendations to best ensure the safety of everyone in our school community.
As you know learning at our school primarily occurs inside classrooms with face-to-face teaching by certified instructors. Any guidance on recovering the learning that may be lost during a potential school closing will come from the Michigan Department of Education. In the meantime, be assured that our schools are prepared to intensify cleaning practices throughout our buildings and will follow all directions provided by public health to prevent and limit the virus.
According to public health officials, the way COVID-19 is spread is very similar to the flu and common colds. For this reason, we are encouraging our students and staff to use the same precautions they would normally take to avoid these illnesses. Please encourage the following practices at home as we do in school to help prevent illness.
- Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
Parents are encouraged to keep sick children at home for at least 24 hours after their fever is broken without the benefit of medication and contact their healthcare provider.
We have open and effective lines of communication with our public health officials and will alert students, staff and parents if we receive direction related to COVID-19. Any potential school closing due to illness will be guided by public health officials. While education is important, the health and wellbeing of our students and staff are far more significant.