2020-21 School Year Updates

COVID-19 Dashboard

Update: November 16, 2020

Dear GHAPS Families,

At tonight’s meeting, the GHAPS Board of Education voted to move all preschool through 12th-grade students to remote learning beginning Thursday, November 19. In-person instruction is scheduled to resume Wednesday, December 9. Our principals will be in contact regarding remote learning and additional details. This change does not affect Buccaneer Virtual students, who will continue instruction as usual. 

Families who need daycare for their children can contact GHAPS Open Door at 850-6825 or children@ghaps.org.

Weekly meals will be distributed at GHHS from 4-5 pm and White Pines Intermediate from 5-6 pm on Wednesday 11/18, Monday 11/23 and Wednesday 12/2. Please pre-order meals at https://www.ghaps.org/order. If you have any questions, please contact GHAPS Food Service at 850-6080 or food@ghaps.org.

This decision will also result in a change to the GHAPS district calendar. There will be no school for students on Wednesday, December 2, replacing the previously scheduled Professional Development Day on Wednesday, December 9.

In making this decision, the Board considered a variety of factors. The recent emergency order issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) – which mandates remote instruction for students in grades 9 through 12 – was a factor, as was district data like the number of COVID-19 cases, the number of students and staff in quarantine, student and staff attendance, the ability to successfully contact trace, and the connection of cases.

We ask all GHAPS families to continue doing their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by being cautious and vigilant. Please practice social distancing, wear your mask and wash your hands frequently. It is our sincere hope that this brief shift to district-wide remote learning will allow us to return in-person as a healthier, safer GHAPS family.

 

Dear GHAPS Families,


Every day, our leadership team reviews district, building and classroom data to assess whether it is in the best interest of our students and staff to continue in-person instruction. While there is no evidence of an imminent outbreak in our buildings, we have seen a recent rise in the number of cases at Lakeshore Middle School and Grand Haven High School. Therefore, the data supports a temporary move to online instruction for our middle and high school students.


Beginning Friday, November 13 and lasting through Thanksgiving, all Lakeshore Middle School and Grand Haven High School students will be moved to online instruction. In-person instruction will resume on Monday, November 30.


This change does not affect Buccaneer Virtual students, who will continue instruction as usual. If your student has been attending LMS or GHHS in person, our principals will be in contact regarding remote learning and additional details.


Meal pick-up for LMS and GHHS families will be on Wed. Nov. 11, Wed. Nov. 18, and Mon. Nov. 23 at GHHS from 4-5 pm and White Pines Intermediate from 5-6 pm. If you have any questions, please contact GHAPS Food Service at 850-6080 or food@ghaps.org.


At GHAPS, we have taken a building-by-building or classroom-by-classroom approach to temporary closures. We are also in daily consultation with the Ottawa County Department of Public Health. Here is some of the information we consider when making decisions about whether in-person learning is safe to continue:


•    Number of COVID-19 cases
•    Number of students and staff in quarantine
•    Student and staff attendance
•    Ability to successfully contact trace
•    Connection of cases


Though we have, out of an abundance of caution, decided to temporarily move to online instruction for LMS and GHHS students, we see evidence that our protocols for masking, sanitizing, distancing and cohorting are effective in limiting the spread of the virus. Thanks to successful contact tracing, we are not seeing widespread transmission or hotspots of COVID-19 in our schools. In a large portion of our positive cases, individuals were exposed to someone with COVID-19 but quarantined themselves before they could, in turn, expose their colleagues or classmates. In addition, district-wide cases represent approximately 1% of our school population, demonstrating that our careful protocols and responsible approach are effectively minimizing the spread.


We will continue our daily assessment of the situation at all GHAPS buildings and will communicate quickly with families and staff in the event of any future changes. Thank you for your continued trust in the GHAPS leadership team.


Sincerely,


Andrew Ingall, Superintendent
Grand Haven Area Public Schools
 

Update: October 20, 2020
Recent Rise in COVID-19 Cases in Community and Implications for Schools

 

Dear West Michigan School Community:

As superintendents representing Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon Counties, we first want to acknowledge your extraordinary patience during these difficult times. Your understanding during this pandemic has been critical in keeping our schools safe.

Unfortunately, the collective hard work of schools alone is not sufficient in controlling community spread of the coronavirus. Public health experts report significant increases in positive cases across our state and region in recent weeks. Health officials cite that the rise in cases is largely due to a lack of safe practices -- mainly distancing and mask wearing -- in social settings and community gatherings. If cases continue to trend upwards, County Health Departments warn schools may be forced to implement additional restrictions to prevent continued infections. Restrictions may include cancellation, or other mitigation efforts, of extracurricular activities like athletics, band, choir and drama. 

As a worst case scenario, schools may be asked to shift to a distance learning instructional model either periodically or for an extended period of time until cases decline. 

And while safety remains our number one priority, we also acknowledge the important role schools serve for our broader community. Schools are vital in meeting the academic, social, emotional and physical wellbeing of students and families. We must do everything we can to keep schools safe and open.

To mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our communities and to keep schools open, we ask that all social and community gatherings continue to adhere to safe mitigation protocols. We’ve worked too hard over the last several months to reverse course now.

Together, we can slow the spread of COVID-19. 

On behalf of the students and communities we serve, we thank you for your continued support.


Return to School Plan Update: September 3, 2020



Thank you to all of our students and families for your engagement and preparation for the 2020-21 school year over the past week and month. In a time with circumstances like no other, we are ready and eager to return to learning!

Beginning September 8, 75% of GHAPS students are returning to In-Person learning and 25% are learning through Buccaneer Virtual. Thank you to all of our teaching staff who have been in preparation for each option over the past several weeks. Additionally, thank you to all of our GHAPS staff for their efforts to prepare for the coming school year. The coming year will undoubtedly require flexibility for each of us. Thank you in advance for your partnership and grace as we navigate these uncharted waters.

Across our programs, GHAPS will remain true to our core values: student-centered, culture of caring, excellent education, and consistent growth. In addition to the high priority on health/safety, we also remain focused on social/emotional wellness and student growth/success. We want to inspire ALL to learn with the ultimate goal of success for ALL.

Our building and district staff stand ready to work with Ottawa County and directly with families regarding suspected or positive cases of COVID-19 within our school. This document provides a concise summary of the protocols that will be followed: What happens when someone at school gets COVID-19?

In our efforts to be transparent while balancing the respect of privacy and safety, we will be providing a weekly update on our GHAPS webpage. This report, generally provided on Friday, will indicate the following information:

The number of confirmed positive cases at the District/building level in comparison to the total percentage of staff/students. (These individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 and are in isolation.)

The number of students who are in quarantine. (These individuals have been in close contact and/or exposed to a family member, a classmate, or staff member who has tested positive.)

The number of staff members who are in isolation or quarantine.

If your child is impacted by a situation at school that requires a quarantine due to an exposure from being in attendance at school or school-related activities, you will be personally contacted by GHAPS staff. This contact will be a telephone call, followed up with a letter from the Health Department and School District. If you are not contacted, you do not need to quarantine.

We firmly believe transparency, to the degree possible under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, is important as we manage this public health crisis. As a district, we will not release the names of students or staff members, nor will we give specific details about classroom or grade level. It is my hope that this transparency further honors your trust with us as a school district during a very challenging and anxious time.

Students who are currently in face-face instruction and need to be isolated or quarantined will continue to receive instruction by their classroom teacher through Google Classroom or SeeSaw. To the degree possible, teachers who are quarantined will continue to provide instruction via Google Classroom from home, with the assistance of a substitute teacher in the classroom.

We continue to work closely with the Ottawa County Department of Public Health in implementing the best health/safety practices possible. If you are contacted by the Health Department regarding a quarantine due to an exposure that you were not made aware of from school, we ask that you please contact your school office and inform them of this so that we can continue to monitor our data closely.

As we enter this new academic year, we desire a positive experience for each member of our school family. We welcome innovative methods of teaching and learning. We will adapt and remain flexible based on our experience and the context of the situation. Again, thank you in advance for your partnership, flexibility and grace.

Go Bucs!


 

 

Return to School Plan Update: August 19, 2020

 

With the Board of Education’s decision to begin “In-Person” learning on September 8, we want to provide important updates as Grand Haven Area Public Schools staff continues to prepare for the coming school year. Our top priorities continue to be equally balanced between health, safety, and learning. The following adjustments have been made for the start of the 2020-21 school year:

Our 100% “Remote” learning option will also begin on September 8. This is to keep a consistent calendar for our students and staff that may transition between the two options at the semester. Going forward, this learning platform will be referred to as “Buccaneer Virtual.”

Monday, August 31 - Thursday, September 3 have been designated as additional professional development work days for teaching staff. Many of our support staff will also have additional duties and training during this week. These days will provide greater opportunity to ensure our staff are ready for the return of students with new expectations and learning environments.

 

Young Fives and Kindergarten student / family orientation

  • Tuesday, September 1 by appointment. Further information will be provided directly by each student's elementary school.
  • Young Fives and Kindergarten students will NOT attend school on September 8 and will begin school on September 9.

Device pick-up for all Elementary Buccaneer Virtual students

  • Wednesday, September 2 and Thursday, September 3.
  • Device pick-up will be at the school where each student would have attended in person.
  • Schedule and details will be provided by each student’s elementary school.

Device pick-up for ALL students in grades 5-12

  • Tuesday, September 1 - Thursday, September 3.
  • Devices pick-up will be at the school where each student would or will attend in person.
  • Schedule and details will be provided by each building.

Elementary buildings will have an opportunity for student and parent connection with building staff during the week of August 31. Details will be provided by each building.

Students registered for “In-Person” learning in grades 5-8 will have the opportunity to walk the halls of their building to find lockers and classrooms at the time of device pick-up.

Grand Haven High School will hold a freshman orientation (in the building) and parent meeting (in Buccaneer Stadium) on the afternoon of Thursday, September 3. Details will be forthcoming from GHHS.

All GHAPS school buildings are CLOSED to staff, students, and the public on Friday, September 4 (until 6 am on 9/8) for cleaning and sanitization prior to the first day of school.

The following adjustments have been made to the 2020-21 calendar. Unless noted, all other previously posted dates remain unchanged:

First Day of School - Tuesday, September 8 for ALL students grades 1-12 (Young Fives and Kindergarten Orientation is Tuesday, September 1 with first full day Wednesday, September 9)

The First Semester will now end on Friday, January 22, 2021

  • January 14, 2021 and January 15, 2021 are now FULL student days
  • January 21, 2021 and January 22, 2021 are now HALF student days

The Last Day of School will be Wednesday, June 9, 2021

  • June 2, 2021 - June 4, 2021 are now FULL student days
  • June 7, 2021 - June 9, 2021 will be HALF student days

We are aware that there is a great deal of change noted above, and we are asking for your patience and grace as we continue to navigate uncharted waters. Please review the information and watch for further updates from our buildings with more specifics on process and times to schedule appointments in the coming weeks. We will continue to work carefully to communicate with clarity and to support the entire GHAPS family with a smooth, successful transition to school this fall.

Go Bucs!

 

 

The Board of Education took action on Saturday, August 15, 2020 to delay the start of both in-person and remote learning until Tuesday, September 8, 2020. As the district readjusts our plans, additional information will be forthcoming regarding the start of school schedules and the calendar for the remainder of the year.

 

 

 

The purpose of this letter is to share the options Grand Haven Area Public Schools is offering for the upcoming school year and to ask you to make a selection August 3-10, 2020. Following Michigan's Mi Safe Schools Roadmap, Grand Haven has developed a plan to serve students and families safely, and with the same care, dedication, and passion you always experience.  The plan offers choice, flexibility, and reflects preferences from/expressed in our student and parent surveys.

 

Option 1:  In-Person Learning

In response to parent surveys/requests, GHAPS is offering In-Person Learning every day when allowable by the state. Safety protocols will be used to maximize a healthy environment. Staff are prioritizing instructional time on essential learning with intervention to provide needed support. Teachers will proactively prepare students and families for At-Home Learning if it becomes necessary.   If schools are required to shift to At-Home Learning, families can expect clear expectations, routines, and a rigorous curriculum.  Here are some details to help you know what to expect should at-home learning be required:

 

When Students Are Learning At Home

  • Students have scheduled times to meet with their teacher for live instruction.
  • Students have flexibility. 
    • Lessons are communicated one week at a time.
    • Recorded lessons allow students to prepare for required live instruction on their schedule.
    • Not every subject is a focus every day to provide students with a balanced learning load.
  • Learning materials are sent home and exchanged as needed (i.e. books).
  • Student work counts towards report cards / final grade.
  • Digital resources and communication have been streamlined for an improved experience.

 

Option 2:  100% Remote Learning

Families can choose instruction and learning to happen in their home every day.  A regional collaborative will support students in this model.  The curriculum is rigorous and aligned to state standards.  Specifically, the curriculum is Roadmaps from the University of Michigan for elementary students, and Michigan Virtual University for secondary students. Grand Haven teachers will be instructing our students, with occasional exceptions (small numbers).  In this way, students can learn using a developed and reputable digital curriculum and with staff who represent GHAPS core values.

For both options, devices will be provided to all students Young Fives - 12th grade.  While weekly learning expectations and teacher connections will be digital, not all learning will be in front of a screen. Traditional learning materials such as textbooks, books, paper, and pencils will be used.

Also with both options, students can count on Grand Haven Area Public Schools for food service, transportation, social-emotional wellness, and special education services.

Details about school instruction and operations are included in the PDF DocumentGHAPS Preparedness Plan and on the PDF DocumentReturn to School Slideshow.

Please indicate your choice for enrollment, with a one-semester commitment, on this Google Formsform.  We look forward to working together as we create new pathways to success for all our students, in partnership with our staff, families, and community.

 

Return to School Plan Update: July 21, 2020

 

Dear Parents/Guardians:

We hope you have been finding many opportunities to enjoy these beautiful summer months. We know everyone has been eagerly awaiting information regarding what school will look like this coming fall. Be assured, our GHAPS team has been hard at work learning about requirements and recommendations from External LinkGovernor Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-142 and the PDF DocumentMI Safe School Roadmap.

We are actively creating plans and protocols to have both the safest and highest quality learning environments possible. A significant part of our planning is also dedicated to designing various systems for maximum flexibility and ease of change as we progress throughout the year with the potential of future closures/opening of school.

Specifically, we are making plans for both in-person learning and remote learning. Please Note: This is not the remote learning we provided in March, April and May of the last school year. The remote plan we are designing for the Fall of 2020 is meant to reflect a normal school year. Students will have a schedule of instruction and robust teacher instruction with frequent teacher interaction, to reflect a typical school day as if he/she were physically attending. There will be attendance, grades, participation, a lot of teacher/student interaction, and an expectation and commitment by both the students and our staff to the learning that is meant to take place.

Our goal is to publicly release a draft of our “GHAPS Back-to-School” recommendations on August 3, which would include all required safety measures. We will formally present the plan to the Board of Education for a vote at their regular meeting on August 10.

Ultimately, if we continue in Phase 4, parents/guardians will have the choice of either 1. In-person learning OR 2. Remote learning. We will begin asking parents to make that selection beginning August 3 when we release details of our board approved plans for all phases.

We want to assure you that the safety of our students and staff is the top concern as we plan to reopen. We are relying on health and safety experts and will keep you informed about the facts as we learn them. In addition to direct communication we will provide updates, as appropriate via a link on our homepage at www.ghaps.org.

Thank you for your dedication, commitment and patience as we work through this ever-changing landscape. I am confident that we will continue to provide quality educational opportunities and success for ALL students and families.

 

Sincerely,

Andrew Ingall, Superintendent
Grand Haven Area Public Schools

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