EXECUTIVE ORDER No. 2020-142: Provision of preK–12 education for the 2020–2021 school year
Michigan’s 2020- 21 Return to School Roadmap (Full Document)
Michigan’s 2020-21 Return to School Roadmap FAQ
UPDATE LETTER FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT
May 16, 2020
Dear BPS Community,
It has been over a month since my last district update after what started out as a flurry of early spring update emails. I felt that it was best to provide some time for our district-wide plans to be implemented and for families to begin receiving updates from our building leaders and classroom teachers. In a time of incredible uncertainty and difficult circumstances, I must once again thank all of our BPS family members for not just doing your part, but also for the high-level at which all of you have performed during the COVID-19 Crisis. This praise is meant for every single member of our district and supportive community. Our students who have endured what has now amounted to the loss of months of educational experiences, ceremonies, contests, and celebrations. Our parents and grandparents who have assumed the roles of instructional facilitator, coach, and cheerleader. Finally, our staff members across the district who have come together to do everything that they can to try to reinvent our student services. Thank you all for reminding me what can be accomplished when incredible people work together.
As a district, we have continued to support our students and families through our BPS Learn at Home Program. We understand that while not perfect, we are very pleased with the high percentage of students who continue to be engaged in their learning. In addition to ongoing learning, BPS is providing our students and community with breakfast and lunches throughout the week. In total, BPS’s dedicated food service staff (with the assistance of transportation department volunteers) have served over 62,000 meals to our community since the mandated school closure on March 13th. While these examples serve as our current situation’s most visible services, the remainder of our staff including administrators, custodial, and clerical have been hard at work preparing for the remainder of this current school year and the potential variations of what next year may look like for the district. At this point, I can share with you what our district plans look like as of today and provide some potential outlook for our future as we wait for additional guidance from the State of Michigan.
REMAINDER OF THE 2019-2020 SCHOOL YEAR
All BPS Students will continue their educational learning utilizing the district Learn at Home Plan through June 10, 2020. The schedule remains unchanged and building principals and teachers will provide continual updates relating to learning, district/personal material collection, and any other important information that will be needed to wrap-up the current school year. It remains extremely important that students continue to engage in this plan to ensure that academic credit is earned and that continual growth is taking place.
DISTRICT FOOD SERVICE
As previously mentioned, BPS Food Service has continued to serve our community throughout the closure. The Food Service Program’s last day for 2019-2020 service is currently scheduled for Monday, June 8, 2020. Bedford Public Schools does not qualify for summer food service grants and has traditionally not been able to provide service throughout the summer months. Until the June 8th closing date, we will continue our current schedule of drive-up food service on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The only exception to this schedule will be that no service will be provided on Monday, May 25, 2020 in observance of the Memorial Day Holiday.
CLASS OF 2020 GRADUATES
The Class of 2020 have felt the effects of COVID-19 as much as any group (excluding those who have lost family and friends to the virus). I can speak for the entire Kicking Mule family when I say that we have missed seeing you experience what you have worked so hard to earn. BPS remains committed to exhausting our options for providing the best allowable opportunities to celebrate your accomplishments. The originally scheduled June 7th Class of 2020 Commencement Ceremony has been rescheduled for Tuesday, July 28th. If the State of Ohio and/or University of Toledo are not permitting large scale events on this date, we will look to transition to holding a ceremony or multiple smaller ceremonies at Bedford High School or Indian Creek (depending on district bond work progress) that follow state orders and support community safety. If it becomes evident that we will not be able to hold any type of in-person commencement, we would review options for a virtual event. The Senior Sendoff Parent Group have started to plan for an alternate event for our seniors and they will announce plans as soon as they are complete. We love our seniors and will do everything that we can to provide the best possible alternatives to recognizing their accomplishments. Stay tuned for additional information as we continue to move forward.
2020-2021 SCHOOL YEAR
There are so many unknowns as I write this update. The Michigan Department of Education has given local districts direction to begin preparing for a number of possible learning scenarios for next school year. These scenarios include returning to the traditional in-classroom school setting, continuing a learn-at-home type instructional program, or some type of hybrid learning program that could include students alternating between traditional in-classroom learning on some days and learning from home on other days to help limit the number of students on campus at one time. Of course, our preference and hope is that we are safe to return to our traditional learning programs so that we can have students back in our buildings. BPS will meet the challenges set before us regardless of the State of Michigan orders and we have already began reviewing what we can do to ensure the best possible experiences for our students. I will provide updated information as soon as it becomes available.
BPS will once again begin registering new students in the upcoming week. It is imperative for district planning to get a strong grasp of our student count to ensure adequate staffing and space. The registration process will look a little different from the past as we incorporate social distancing practices to ensure community and staff safety. We will be sharing updated dates and times as well as the process for completing new student registration very soon via email, district website, and social media.
(Warning, I am about to bore some of you with my background in teaching economics, but this background in school finance and current information is extremely important) In 1994, Michigan voters approved the controversial passing of State Ballot Proposal A, which included a major overhaul of public school funding. Until Proposal A was enacted, local public school districts were funded primarily through assessing property tax levies on the residents of the communities that they supported. Proposal A changed the public school funding system by limiting the amount and purposes for which a local district can ask for property tax levies. Instead of relying on local property taxes, Proposal A created a new complex formula that combined revenue from the rolled back local millage or tax rates (a new flat 6-mill statewide education property tax was instituted) with money from the newly created state school tax (state sales tax increased from 4 to 6 percent), other tax hikes (increases tax rates on fuel, real estate purchases, and tobacco), and finally, yes, the ever so popular Michigan lottery income (actually represents a very small portion of the state’s total school aid fund) to maintain the state school aid fund.
This new system created a statewide, economy-driven per-pupil foundation allowance which has become the basis for how school districts receive operational funding today. As an example, Bedford Public Schools received a state per-pupil foundation allowance of $8,111 for the 2019-2020 school year. This foundation allowance is then multiplied by the total number of students enrolled for the school year to come up with the total amount that BPS will receive from the state school aid fund, providing 85% of our district’s total revenue. The other 15% is made up of non-homestead tax levies (rental or commercial properties), state and federal grants (BPS receives very little in these grants due to the lower-than-average free/reduced lunch rate of the district), countywide technology millage, and other miscellaneous sources.
Overall, Proposal A is considered a success in achieving some of its initial goals of overhauling the local property tax system and narrowing the gap that exists throughout the state in school funding averages. However, the system is extremely reliant upon the State of Michigan’s economy. As you can imagine, COVID-19 and the related Stay Home, Stay Safe orders that have closed much of the state’s economy for the better part of the last sixty days have devastated our economic system. The closure or limiting of services for most retail stores, food and beverage establishments, real estate and car sales offices, and reduced overall fuel purchases have significantly reduced the expected revenue for both the adopted current fiscal year budget and the upcoming fiscal year budget. These significant drops in incoming revenue will absolutely result in a devastating effect to public education across the state.
CURRENT SCHOOL FUNDING CRISIS
The State of Michigan held their Spring Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference (CREC) on Friday, May 15th. The CREC is where the state department of treasury and economists from the University of Michigan work to determine the state’s overall financial status for the current year and the upcoming years. This data is then used to finalize and formulate state budgets (including school aid fund). As expected, the conference report was not good news for public education. State officials and economists presented that shutdown as a result of COVID-19 has dropped state sales and income tax revenues to numbers we have not seen since 1946. Big Picture: state overall revenue's loss between this year and the next fiscal year is $6.28 billion over anticipated revenue just as recently as this January. The School Aid Fund is significantly out of balance for the current fiscal year, the next fiscal year, and the following year. For fiscal year 2020 (current school year), the deficit is $1.1 billion, for fiscal year 2021 (next school year), the deficit is $963 million, and for fiscal year 2022, the deficit is $334 million.
To put these numbers in perspective, an overall deficit of $1.1 billion to the state school aid fund equates to an average reduction of $900 per-pupil to each local district for the current 2019-2020 school year. However, legislation guiding the State of Michigan School Aid Fund provides guidance for how any required statewide proration of school funding would be implemented and thus limits the possible reduction or proration for the current year to between $650-$700 per pupil or an unimaginable amount of $2.9 million for BPS. Regardless, these numbers are staggering and have never before been seen by public schools in this state. The effect of any reduction to school funding while preparing for an upcoming school year is extremely challenging. A potential reduction of this size for the current school year and next is devastating. The only positives at this moment is that these numbers, while real, represent the situation based on the current adopted state budget. They do not take into account any budgetary adjustments made by the state, nor do they account for any potential federal funds that can be made available to public schools across the nation. These variables, along with other potential legislative and executive actions, could help alleviate a portion of the current deficit to the school aid fund.
While the district has a currently adopted and fiscally sound budget for the 2019-2020 school year based on original adopted state school aid allocations, this new data, along with recent warnings from the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) regarding a potential budget proration for all districts for the remainder of this year, has necessitated the creation of a multi-tiered response to this financial crisis. All district department and building leaders have been engaged in an emergency review process to identify potential budgetary reductions. This process will continue to carry through our district’s creation of the upcoming 2020-2021 district budget as well. As superintendent, I am charged to bring forward the best possible solutions for maintaining a balanced district budget while also maintaining the integrity of our community’s high educational expectations. I understand that none of us have created this health crisis and its associated financial strife. Regardless, we must all do everything in our power to ensure that the students of our community remain as shielded as possible in order to continue our long tradition of student success. To this end, I am asking all of you to reach out to the offices of our state governor, local state representatives, and federal representatives to ensure they take every possible action necessary to reduce the impact on our students in public education. I have spoken with our local representatives and they clearly understand the position of our district and support our efforts. Please make sure that our governor and federal representatives do as well!
DISTRICT BOND WORK
After typing the previous section on the school financial crisis, I am much happier to be able to share information regarding the district bond projects. As of May 7th, there has been an incredible amount of work begun on the planned summer of 2020 bond projects. This summer’s projects include work at Bedford High School (new windows and exterior doors in the original section of building, replacement of all heating units with heat and cooling units in all instructional classrooms, the creation of a new safe entryway at the front of the building, new fire alarm and clock systems, new security/remote access systems, new main gym bleachers and refinished floor, fully updated restrooms throughout the building, and a newly designed parking lot/student drop-off area to serve the entire secondary campus shared by both BHS/BJHS). The other building that is undergoing major renovations this summer is Jackman Road Elementary (new windows and exterior doors, replacement of all heating units with heat and cooling units in all instructional classrooms, new security/remote access systems, updated restrooms throughout the building, and a newly designed parking lot which includes an extended parent drop-off loop to hold more vehicles). In addition, there will be roof replacement work completed at Douglas Road Elementary, Jackman Road Elementary, and Bedford Junior High School.
The district bond that was passed in November of 2018 has made all of these exciting projects possible. Bond Proposals such as ours, are one of the few remaining opportunities that communities can still directly support their local public school districts through local tax levies (of course you all knew this after reading and taking notes on my previous section on Proposal A). All associated funds collected by the passed bond levy are mandated to be used for the sole stated purpose of the bond, and thus, cannot be redirected or affected by state funding issues, so rest assured that we will finish what you have entrusted us to accomplish. The remainder of the bond projects at our other buildings will be completed during the summer of 2021. Once again, I speak for our entire district in thanking all of our dedicated community members who supported this bond proposal and am proud that we are currently on schedule and on budget to complete all projects within the district.
I am once more forced to apologize for yet another lengthy letter regarding our district. I could effectively write shorter district updates, but I truly believe that in order to be effective advocates for your children and for our district, you deserve the greatest level of detail possible. Bedford Public Schools is, and will remain, a special place. Our students, our staff, and our supportive community ensure that we maintain our position as one of the top districts in the state. District leadership will be forced to make tough decisions over the course of the next few years to appropriately deal with the impending state budget reductions (please remember to reach out to our government representatives that we have entrusted to support our community to voice your concerns). I can promise that we will stubbornly (as would any Kicking Mule) fight for every available dollar from any and all potential funds that can better support our students. We need to keep our heads up and continue to be a unified district in the presence of adversity. We have so much to be grateful for as a community and this should be a time to celebrate our students and not get down due to events outside of our control. Thank you to all of you for everything that you do; it reminds me daily of why I’m proud to be a Mule!
Carl Shultz, Ph.D
Superintendent, Bedford Public Schools
FAMILIES ELIGIBLE FOR FREE/REDUCED SCHOOL MEALS TO GET PANDEMIC EBT PROGRAM BENEFITS
The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer Program (P-EBT) provides temporary funding to address emergency food needs for families affected by the pandemic. P-EBT food assistance benefits will go to families with students ages 5-18 that are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. This includes families currently receiving Food Assistance Program benefits as well as those not currently enrolled in the program.
FAMILIES CURRENTLY RECEIVING FOOD ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (FAP) BENEFITS WILL AUTOMATICALLY RECEIVE BENEFITS
Additional benefits will be issued directly to your Bridge Card and can be used in the same way to purchase food items. P-EBT benefits can also be used in the Double Up Food Bucks program.
March and April combines benefits: $193.80 per eligible student will be loaded on the family's Bridge Card by the end of April.
May and June combined benefits: $182.40 per eligible student will be loaded on the family's Bridge Card at a later date yet to be determined.
ELIGIBLE FAMILIES NOT CURRENTLY RECEIVING FOOD ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (FAP) BENEFITS CAN ALSO PARTICIPATE IN PROGRAM
Q. We recently lost our job or took a significant loss in income. What should I do to receive the benefit?
A: Please reach out to your local school/district to learn how to complete an application for Free and Reduced Price School Meals. Your child’s school/district will have to report the change in Free and Reduced-Price Meal eligibility to the state of Michigan to make you eligible for P-EBT.
How to apply for Bedford Public Schools' Free and Reduced School Meals:
Applications for free/reduced meals for 2019-2020 are available online at: https://www.lunchapp.com/
Applications can be printed using this link: http://www.bedford.k12.mi.us/files/2019-20-Free_and_Reduced-price_application.pdf
Applications will also be available at the MRE and BHS "Drive Thru" pickups. Completed applications can also be returned at these locations as well.
Then register on MI Bridges to get the EBT process started: https://newmibridges.michigan.gov/
Eligible families not currently receiving food assistance benefits will receive a pre-loaded Electronic Benefits Transaction (EBT) card in the mail. It will be issued under the name of the oldest student in the household. Benefits for all eligible school-aged children in the home will be loaded onto this one EBT card. Families will also be getting a letter from MDHHS describing how to use their EBT card, how to set up their PIN, and other information about food assistance benefits. This EBT card can be used to purchase food items only, in-person, at any SNAP retailer. The P-EBT card may look different from the Bridge Card but can be used in the same way.
March and April combines benefits: Families will receive an EBT card in the mail pre-loaded with $193.80 per eligible student by the end of the first week in May. Please keep this card to use for ongoing benefits you may receive.
May and June combined benefits: $182.40 per eligible student will be loaded on the family's EBT card at a later date yet to be determined.
If you have any questions about this Pandemic EBT Program, please refer to these online resources:
Or call: 1-833-905-0028
Posted: April 29, 2020
Board of Education Meeting Updates
Committee of the Whole Meeting scheduled for Thursday, April 30th is cancelled.
The regular Board of Education Meeting scheduled for Thursday, May 7th, will be held virtually. Details for the meeting's virtual link will be released closer to the date of that meeting.
Posted: April 27, 2020
At-Home Learning Plan Information
Our Continuity in Learning Plan has been approved. Dr. Mark French, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction and Student Services, has emailed families with a Letter and Overview of our At-Home Learning Plan. Building principals will also be sending more detailed information specific to their schools home as well.
Posted: April 14, 2020
BPS Continuity of Learning Plan Approved
The Continuity of Learning Plan for Bedford Public Schools was approved. District and School Administrators will be sharing more information in the days to come.
Posted: April 13, 2020
LETTER FROM SUPERINTENDENT ON "LEARN AT HOME" PLAN
April 3, 2020
Dear BPS Families,
As I shared with all of you yesterday in my brief email, Governor Whitmer’s signing of Michigan Executive Order 2020-35 immediately suspends face-to-face learning in all K-12 Schools for the remainder of the current school year. While this is an unprecedented event for our state, I believe that for the safety of our students and staff, it was needed for our district to be able to move forward. By signing this latest Executive Order, Governor Whitmer has also made it possible for Michigan Public Schools to transition from our traditional mode of in-classroom learning to a newly allowable and flexible “Learn at Home” instructional model. Bedford Public Schools will now have the opportunity to create and submit a continuity of education plan that will allow the district to continue providing educational services to our families for the remainder of the year. This plan, which must be approved by Monroe Intermediate School District (MISD) and the Michigan Department of Education (MDE), will outline our plan for at-home learning, continued food service programs, and the continuation of any additional services that we currently hope to offer. Once approved, BPS will be able to once again provide educational instruction for state-approved credit for all grade levels.
The submitted BPS Continuity of Education Plan will focus on engaging ALL students in their personalized learning and academic growth, providing families with consistent support and guidance, and offering flexibility for staff and students to overcome the inherent challenges of at-home learning. Student participation in the learn-at-home instructional program is mandatory for all students and failure to engage in the learning process can/will lead to a loss of academic credit toward graduation or grade-level progression. Myself, and the district leadership team fully understand that there will be an exorbitant amount of potential obstacles in seamlessly implementing any new plan. This means that timely communication to teaching staff and building administration will be key in helping our team to better understand your needs and challenges. BPS has been successfully engaged in utilizing state-of-the-art educational technology and digital learning resources for a number of years. Each grade-level will look different in our plan but there will be consistency and support to assist students and families along the way. The district began creating a version of our plan in the early stages of the current closure in case our state elected to move in this direction. We feel that based on initial feedback, our plan will be ready for initial submission based on the finalized Executive Order by the middle of next week. Once approved, our district goal would then be to begin plan implementation the following week (tentatively around April 16th). We will, of course, keep everyone up-to-date on our progress as we navigate through this approval process.
Finally, we are continuously working to keep our families informed throughout this process and have created a new FAQs based on the questions from last evening's District Zoom Update and Discussion as well as emails and other sources. If you do not see a topic that you are searching for answers on, please email building administration, department/program directors, or myself. As always, I am asking our families to rely on official district information channels to get accurate and timely answers to your questions.
Thank you and I wish all of you a safe and hopefully relaxing weekend.
Dr. Carl Shultz
Superintendent, Bedford Public Schools
Follow me on Twitter: Dr. Carl Shultz @BedfordSupt
Facebook: Carl Shultz
3rd GRADE CHROMEBOOK DISTRIBUTION
Third grade Chromebook distribution is being implemented. Parents should look at their email or schoology for further instructions and pick up schedule for their class. If you cannot make the time scheduled, please contact the helpdesk at 734-850-6095 or email email@example.com to explain your situation, and we will do our best to make accommodations so you can schedule an alternate time.
Posted: April 3, 2020
All Bedford school district athletic facilities are closed until further notice.
All athletic fields, track, and stadiums are now closed for safety and health reasons due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Thank you for your cooperation.
Posted: April 3, 2020
UPDATE ON SCHOOL BUILDING CLOSURE FOR REMAINDER OF SCHOOL YEAR
April 2, 2020
Please see the recently released State Executive Order that suspends in-person educational delivery for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. The full order outlines the state's educational outlook, intermediate school district guidelines, and local district requirements. Having seen this order for the first time when it was released statewide, district leadership is working on our BPS response including what to expect as staff members, students, and parents. Please allow time for us to get this together. District leadership has been working on a learn at home plan for our staff and students for several weeks. This plan will need adjustment once we learn all additional information regarding state requirements that must be included for local districts.
I will be sending a district update letter to all families tomorrow with more information regarding learn at home timelines and and how BPS will continue to support our students and families throughout the remainder of the year and beyond. Please be patient and know that we are working to ensure an accurate, comprehensive, and sustainable plan for our district. We will not be ready to share the finalized plan until it has been reviewed/approved by both the Monroe Intermediate School District and the Michigan Department of Education. I will be hosting a Superintendent District Discussion via Zoom this evening at 6:00 pm.
I have held several Zoom Meetings but never one with more than 30 participants, so please be patient if you join me for the discussion as I have set the meeting up to accommodate up to 1,000 guests!
Dr. Carl Shultz
Superintendent, Bedford Public Schools
UPDATE FROM SUPERINTENDENT: END OF 2nd WEEK OF CLOSURE
March 27, 2020
Dear BPS Families,
I hope that this update finds you well-rested and safe. As the second week of the mandatory BPS closure comes to an end, I want to thank all of your for your support and well wishes. While our students and staff may not be inside of our classrooms at this time, I can see from the digital engagement taking place that teaching and learning has not stopped. I can provide very few concrete updates as the leader of the district at this time. I have taken part in countless video and phone conferences over the past two weeks and I can tell you that state and local leadership have not stopped communicating and planning. I can also share that while it has been on many of our minds over the past two weeks, I did hear Governor Whitmer publicly say this morning for the first time that it is “very unlikely” that Michigan’s K-12 schools would reopen this school year.
I want to share my thoughts with our families regarding this potential (seemingly likely) scenario of not being back inside of our buildings for the remainder of the school year. As a parent, a teacher, and as a superintendent, I know that learning does not take place exclusively inside classrooms. While there are several hurdles that our state leadership will need to clear before we can begin a comprehensive learn-at-home instructional plan, I believe that we will get there through collaboration and level-headed decision making. The Department of Education and Governor have engaged leadership from educational groups from around the state to determine how to best move forward for the remainder of this year. I can assure you that whatever plan is placed before our district’s educators, BPS will implement it to the best of our abilities. The Governor indicated during her interview this morning that we should be hearing additional information next week on this topic.
I continue to receive questions regarding why other area districts have already or are soon to begin digital student learning programs. I will not speak for any other districts, but I can tell you that ALL K-12 Michigan Public Schools have received the same information that no digital learning completed at home through ANY means during this initial closure will be counted toward credit or school year completion. This message was reiterated in a received memo last week from the Michigan Department of Education. My review of this topic has shown that districts are starting to use online materials for enrichment. However, these programs are utilizing many of the same options that BPS Students have had access to for the past several years. BPS is and has been ahead of the curve in relation to online opportunities in the State of Michigan.
Additionally, I am proud to share that our district team worked this week to collect all of the classroom supplies (mostly Clorox-style wipes, hand sanitizer, and gloves) that remained inside of our buildings. These items were boxed up and delivered to local first responders throughout the area. Items such as these and other medical supplies continue to be in short supply and our Governor has asked all that can assist to do so. If you check out our district or my personal superintendent Facebook or Twitter accounts, you can see the images of the incredible amount of supplies that BPS and our community were able to share with those in need. Furthermore, BPS Food Service Staff handed out over 7,000 meals this week. These numbers are truly impressive and helped us to decide that we will maintain our current weekly pick-up schedule of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the foreseeable future.
Finally, in an attempt to be able to engage in more of your questions, I will be hosting some Zoom Interactive Conversations throughout the next couple of weeks. Please follow me on Facebook or Twitter to find out when the meetings will take place and to get the Zoom digital link. Zoom is an interactive meeting platform that has become very popular over the past month due to the social distancing mandates because of its easy-to-use platform and set-up. I will send out dates, time, and an embedded link using my superintendent social media accounts that you can simply click to join. This will be a great way for students, staff, and community members to engage with myself and other district leaders on topics that you have on your mind.
Thank you all for your support and patience,
Dr. Carl Shultz
Superintendent, Bedford Public Schools
Follow me on Twitter: Dr. Carl Shultz @BedfordSupt
Facebook: Carl Shultz
UPDATE ON GOVERNOR'S "STAY HOME, STAY SAFE" EXECUTIVE ORDER
March 23, 2020
Dear BPS Families,
Good afternoon and I hope that this message finds you and your family safe and healthy. This morning, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a State of Michigan Executive Order enforcing what she is calling the "Stay Home, Stay Safe" Act. The measure places limits on where individuals may travel and also which businesses may continue to operate for a minimum of three weeks. The Executive Order details essential businesses and organizations that if possible, should maintain services to their communities.
Bedford Public Schools has worked extremely hard to continue vital services for our community throughout the COVID-19 Crisis. One of these vital services is the continuation of our food service program. In fact, through state and federal support, BPS has been able to enhance our program to provide free meals to any individual 18 years and under and student's with special needs through age 26. I am extremely proud of our food service department for maintaining our services through the vast number of changes caused by this extremely fluid situation. On Friday, March 20th, I sent an updated Food Service Plan which included the transition from five days per week to three days per week pick-up services to better meet our available resources. I am pleased that as of today, BPS will maintain this current schedule throughout this week as district food support programs have been designated as essential by Governor Whitmer.
District leadership will re-examine our current plan at the end of this week to determine how we can proceed in the upcoming days, weeks, and potentially months. The major challenges that we face in providing this service, is of course the health and safety of our trained district staff members handling the food each day, availability of food supplies, and any other potential shortcomings that may come down the road as we head into this prolonged closure process. BPS is dedicated to our students and our community today more than ever and we will do everything that we can to assist in this increasingly difficult time.
For your reference:
Thank you for your support and patience,
Dr. Carl Shultz
Superintendent, Bedford Public Schools
Letter From Superintendent About MDE Decision Regarding Online Learning During Mandated Closure
March 20, 2020
I wanted to provide our BPS Families with a memo that the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) released earlier this morning. The memo states that any instructional time completed during the school closure would not be counted toward 2019-2020 academic progress in accordance with State of Michigan Law. I want to reiterate that this is the reason that BPS has not required new instructional lessons and/or student assignments to be completed throughout the closure. However, this memo does not speak to the importance of students remaining engaged in their personal learning by practicing their previously learned skills. These activities can include logging into district-sponsored learning programs, reading age/grade-level appropriate materials, and practicing math, science, arts related skills.
MDE sent the memo in response to the many questions that they have been fielding related to districts being able to transition to online learn-at-home programs during the mandated closure. As superintendent, this memo or its content does not at all surprise me, as we were well aware that our state requires learning to take place inside of our classrooms for traditional K-12 Public Schools. However, please do not read anything into the memo in regards to the potential forgiveness of days missed due to the mandatory state closure. It is the Michigan Legislature and Governor that will need to take action to reduce or eliminate instructional time that has been lost due to our current crisis. The Legislature has already discussed potential action and will continue to do so as the crisis continues. As of today, the district does not have any final answers regarding the remainder of the school year outside of the current closure schedule, which would end for BPS on Monday, April 13th (due to scheduled spring break). Please be patient and know that we are working and fighting daily for our state to take appropriate action to keep our students, staff, and community safe.
Finally, I understand that our closure has placed many traditional events in jeopardy this spring. As a district, while we are fighting to continue to provide key services to our students and community, we have not lost sight of the additional things that matter for our families. As we progress through these troubling and unprecedented times, we will be working to brainstorm how we can make the remainder of this year special for our students that have earned it no matter what the adjusted calendar ends up being. Be safe, be productive, and most of all be kind, Mules!
Dr. Carl Shultz
Superintendent, Bedford Public Schools
INTERNET ACCESS SURVEY
District administrators have been working with Buckeye Broadband to ensure that qualifying families can receive free basic home internet service so that students can continue to be engaged in their learning.
As previously described in my most recent family update, the State of Michigan does not provide opportunities for districts to transition to learn at home instruction like some of our neighboring states in times of emergency/crisis. This means that while BPS and our teachers continue to share learning resources with our students/families, there are no mandatory assignments and or assessments taking place during the closure.
If the mandatory closure is extended by the state, there is a possibility that state law could be amended to allow for transition to home instruction.
The survey link below is for families that do not currently have home internet access and would like to see if they qualify for free basic service through Buckeye Broadband.
Please feel free to share the link with any BPS students that you know may require such service.
Posted: March 19, 2020
Mental Health Resources for Coping with COVID-19 Crisis
The coronavirus has drastically changed life in so many ways over the last few weeks and that impact will be with us for some time to come. That can take a toll on our mental health, too.
Mr. Hurley used Schoology to share some information from our BJHS counselors to help support our families. Here are links to the resources they recommend:
18 Coping Skills and Activities for Children and Teens
Supporting Kids During the COVID-19 Crisis
Posted: March 19, 2020
Update from Superintendent on Common Closure Questions
March 17, 2020
Dear BPS Families,
Bedford Public Schools remains committed to ensuring that our families have the information and resources available to successfully manage this extraordinary and historic school closure. I would like to thank all of our family members that have reached out to offer support and volunteer service. As I have often stated, BPS employs some of the most dedicated and professional staff anywhere in this county. As of today, our district has the capacity to maintain our technology and food service programs that will continue supporting our community. If there becomes a need to seek volunteers to assist in our available programs, I will reach out to those that have contacted me and other district leaders.
Over the past week, I have received several inquiries regarding our district’s plan for not immediately beginning at-home learning while under mandatory state closure. There are several factors that come into play when considering the district’s learning plan in our current closure and any potential additional closures. The State of Michigan Public School Aid Act requires that all public schools within the state “shall provide at least 1,098 hours and 180 days of pupil instruction” each school year. This requirement does not have any variance for transitioning to online or virtual learning throughout the year based on emergency related cancellations. I understand that many of our families have relatives and friends in our neighboring state to our south. The State of Ohio does have a law whereby districts can utilize “web access type learning” whenever emergency cancellations are necessary. Many refer to this law as the “blizzard bag” or “backpack” law. There are many differences between our two states and the laws that govern our citizens and this just happens to be one of the laws that community members are not typically aware of. The other question that I have received over the past few days is concerning why other districts are sending homework and BPS is not. The truth is that the districts that are sending work home are predominately sending students practice activities and skill-building materials which our students already have access to through our web-based instructional programs.
While I cannot tell the future, I can share that our district leadership team is preparing for a worst-case scenario, which could have students at home for an extended period well beyond the initial three week closure. In the event that an extended closure is mandated, BPS will be ready to immediately transition to a web-based learning program if allowable by the state legislature and Michigan Department of Education. I can tell you that this will look different from what students and families are familiar with, but we believe that we can be effective in this mode of instruction. My incredible leadership team and I are keeping up-to-date with communication at both the local and state level and we will share information as it becomes available.
Thank you all for your patience and dedication to our community. Please be safe and know that we are here to support you in any way that we can.
Dr. Carl Shultz
Superintendent, Bedford Public Schools
FOOD ASSISTANCE OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE
BEDFORD PUBLIC SCHOOLS "DRIVE THRU"
FOOD ASSISTANCE HAS CONCLUDED FOR THE SCHOOL YEAR
Our Drive Thru Food Pickups have concluded for this school year. A huge round of applause for the efforts of that department! They served a total of 116,347 meals during the time our school buildings have been closed!
SUMMER FOOD SERVICE PROGRAMS
Please check the Michigan Department of Education's Summer Food Service Program website for locations where service will be available.
Some school districts will continue to serve, in programs similar to what Bedford did, until June 30th. Procedures may be different from school to school (some schools ask you to sign up, and some deliver off the bus) so please call that district's food service department to find out how they are running their program. Phone numbers should be included on the website listed above. Service after June 30th will transition to the more traditional summer programs which may operate differently or happen in different locations once June is over.
CONTINUING ASSISTANCE AFTER SCHOOL RESUMES
FREE AND REDUCED SCHOOL MEAL BENEFITS
Those that are currently receiving benefits will remain eligible and can continue to receive them after school starts through October 19, 2020 when they expire. Applications for the 2020-21 school year will available around August. Families can apply at any time during the school year.
Please call the Food Service Director, Meaghan Eckler, at 734-850-6127, with any questions about this program.
In addition to the BPS Food Service Program above, there are several food pantries that are available for assistance.
MOBILE FOOD PANTRIES
Dates are included on District website home page. Unless otherwise noted, mobile food pantries will:
-- not require you to register for the event.
-- give one food package to the first 250 households.*
-- require you to provide ID showing Monroe County residency for every household that wishes to receive a free food package.
LATEST UPDATE LETTER:
March 13, 2020
Good Afternoon BPS Families,
We have been working diligently throughout the day to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information in light of the closure of all school districts within the State of Michigan enacted by Governor Whitmer late last night.
While our district will not have a formal, instructor-led online learning requirement for students at this time, we encourage our students to continue to be engaged learners using their school devices at home to access the many digital educational resources available to them throughout the mandatory closure. Please know that our technology team will be hard at work throughout the closure ensuring that student accounts are up and performing effectively. For our youngest learners, active participation in already prescribed literacy and arithmetic skill building will serve as a great way to remain on track for student learning goals.
The remainder of this message is designed to allow families to easily scan and find the most relevant information.
BUILDING ACCESSIBILITY: All district buildings will be closed and off limits to students, staff, and visitors during this mandatory three-week closure except for those employees scheduled to be working at each site.
SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM: We recognize the need for some of our students to obtain breakfast and lunch through the National School Lunch Program. We are actively developing plans to address this need within our school community. BPS will be providing “pick-up and carry” meals throughout the closure. Additional information will be sent out soon.
REQUIRED STATE ASSESSMENTS: Many questions have been presented about required state assessments, such as MSTEP, PSAT, SAT, and ACT WorkKeys. The Governor has stated that she will be working with the Department of Education to develop plans and guidance on this topic, which we will share upon receipt.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: Our special education administrators are working with the Michigan Department of Education to actively develop plans to address this need for our students. This plan will be shared with our special education families once we receive guidance and direction from the Michigan Department of Education.
SCHOOL EVENTS AND ATHLETICS: All district activities are canceled during the closure. This includes all athletics, clubs, performances, ceremonies, trainings, community education activities, etc. Additionally, any previously approved district facility rentals are also canceled through minimally April 6, 2020 (except for Love N Care housed at SRE).
SPRING BREAK: Spring Break is scheduled to be held April 6 through April 10. Monroe County superintendents have met and agree that any change in this schedule would be severely detrimental to our district’s families. Therefore, unless mandated by state officials, BPS will maintain our currently scheduled spring break and return to classes on April 13, 2020.
EVNETS AFTER APRIL 13th: We realize there will be questions about school and district events later in the year (5thGrade Camp, Washington DC Trip, Prom, Graduation, etc.) and we are working diligently to monitor this and as more information becomes available, we will communicate with our community.
At this time, we do not have any information regarding if the school year will be extended and are awaiting additional guidance by the State of Michigan.
District leaders will continue to provide updates as information becomes available throughout the closure. As we have already witnessed over the past forty-eight hours, information and plans change rapidly. If there is a need to make any adjustment to the information stated above, we will do so as soon as possible for planning purposes. Finally, please check out our district website for up to date COVID-19 updates and a district level FAQ. You can find this at http://www.mybedford.us/COVID-19.html.
Dr. Carl Shultz
Bedford Public Schools
SCHOOLS ORDERED TO CLOSE FROM MARCH 16 - APRIL 5
Governor Gretchen Whitmer just announced that in order to slow the spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan, she is ordering the closure of all K-12 school buildings to students starting Monday, March 16th until Sunday, April 5th. School buildings are scheduled to reopen on Monday, April 6. Bedford Public Schools will follow this newly mandated closure. This means that BPS will be in session tomorrow, Friday, March 13th and then begin our mandatory closure on this coming Monday. Students that do not attend tomorrow out of concern will be excused without any attendance penalty. Additional information will be sent out in the coming days as it becomes available. Thank you, Dr. Carl Shultz
THE GOVERNOR'S ANNOUNCEMENT:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 12, 2020
Governor Whitmer Announces Statewide Closure of All K-12 School Buildings
School building closures will last Monday, March 16 through Sunday, April 5
LANSING, Mich. -- Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that in order to slow the spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan, she is ordering the closure of all K-12 school buildings, public, private, and boarding, to students starting Monday, March 16 until Sunday, April 5. School buildings are scheduled to reopen on Monday, April 6.
As of tonight, the number of presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Michigan is 12.
“This is a necessary step to protect our kids, our families, and our overall public health,” said Governor Whitmer. “I am working with partners across state government to ensure educators, parents, and students have the support they need during this time, and to ensure our children who rely on school for meals have access to food. I know this will be a tough time, but we’re doing this
to keep the most people we can safe. I urge everyone to make smart choices during this time and to do everything they can to protect themselves and their families.”
“Closing our K-12 school buildings is the responsible choice that will minimize the risk of exposure for children, educators, and families and mitigate the spread of coronavirus,” said Michigan State Superintendent Michael Rice. “The Department of Education will continue to work closely with our partners in state government to help our students and educators in each school district get through this time. This is about protecting the most people in Michigan.”
Governors across the country, including Mike DeWine (R-OH), Andy Beshear (D-KY), and Larry Hogan (R-MD), have taken similar steps to close schools and ensure the protection of children and families in their states.
“Closing our school buildings is the smart thing and the right thing to do for the public’s health,” said Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Deputy for Health and Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “These actions will help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan. I will continue to work with Governor Whitmer and our four COVID-19 task forces to ensure we protect our children, our families, and our communities.”
Patients with confirmed infection have reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:
-- Shortness of breath
The best prevention for viruses, such as influenza, the common cold or COVID-19 is to:
-- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If not available, use hand sanitizer.
-- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
-- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or upper sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
-- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
-- If you are sick, stay home, and avoid contact with others.
Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.
Posted: March 13, 2020
Bedford Public Schools is moving from a Preventative Phase into a Mitigation Phase.
CDC mitigation strategies include recommendations for:
-- Limiting or canceling activities where more than one hundred individuals gather
-- Canceling or limiting spectator participation at athletic/arts events
-- Canceling or limiting group travel plans
-- Focusing educational activities to within the school day
Posted: March 12, 2020
The superintendents of Monroe County have released the following special notice regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19):
Special Notice Regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Dear Students, Parents, Staff and Community Members:
Governor Whitmer and representatives from the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services announced recommendations for keeping students and staff healthy while addressing the risks associated with the Coronavirus. We have been in close contact with the Monroe County Health Department and the Michigan Department of Education.
Our immediate plan for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in our communities while advancing student learning is based on three factors:
1. Avoiding unnecessary exposure of our staff and students to illness.
2. Working to the best of our ability to ensure the continuity of teaching and learning in Monroe County.
3. Protecting the health and well-being of our multigenerational community, especially those who are most vulnerable to illness.
With this in mind, we will enact the following measures related to events and programs beginning immediately:
-- All field trips are suspended until further notice.
-- All school-sponsored travel is suspended until further notice.
-- All assemblies, performances and large-group gatherings in our schools are suspended until further notice.
-- All community meetings, community education programming (excluding before/after school childcare, preschool, and daycare programming), rentals, and gatherings scheduled to take place within our school facilities are suspended until further notice.
-- All district and county-level meetings, professional development, curriculum work and other gatherings as such, must be conducted in digital format. Smaller meetings, whenever possible, should also be conducted in this manner.
-- All athletic events will continue in accordance with guidance issued by the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA). Updates will be posted at www.mhsaa.com.
-- Any after-school activities that are extensions of the normal learning day (clubs, athletic practices, etc.) will continue as planned.
-- Visitor and volunteer access will be limited.
-- All tours of school facilities will be suspended until further notice.
As we prepare for all possible scenarios, we are asking you to develop a plan for your family in the event schools were to close for an extended period of time. The Governor has declared a state of emergency, we are taking COVID-19 very seriously and hope that with your help, we can mitigate the spread of this virus in Monroe County. Please follow the recommendations to wash your hands, stay home when you are sick, and practice good hygiene.
Governor Whitmer said, “Community mitigation strategies are designed to be implemented at the individual, organizational, and community levels. They apply to businesses, workplaces, schools, community organizations, health care institutions, and individuals of all ages, backgrounds, and health profiles; everyone has an important role to play.”
We will continue to take any/all measures to keep our children, staff, and school community safe. The situation involving this health challenge is rapidly changing and we will update you as additional guidance is received. Please continue to check your email, social media and district website for further updates.
Thank you for your attention and support regarding this important topic as safety is our number one priority.
John Krimmel, Airport Community Schools
Carl Shultz, Ph.D., Bedford Public Schools
Edward Manuszak, Dundee Community Schools
Sandy Kreps, Ida Public Schools
Mike Petty, Jefferson Schools
Andrew Shaw, Mason Consolidated Schools
Stephen McNew, Ed.D., Monroe County ISD
Julie Everly, Ph.D., Monroe Public Schools
Jack Hewitt, Summerfield Schools
Val Orr, Whiteford Schools
Posted: March 12, 2020
MARCH 12-13 CANCELLATIONS
All field trips are suspended for 3/12/2020 - 3/13/2020.
All assemblies and performances in our schools involving participation by the general public are suspended for 3/12/2020 - 3/13/2020.
The MHSAA is suspending all winter sport tournaments indefinitely. No contests until further notice. Updates will be posted at www.mhsaa.com.
Thank you for being patient and for understanding the difficult work that goes into making these decisions. Any cancelled events can be rescheduled at a later date based on instructor and student availability.
A complete list of strategies will be distributed later this evening for activities beyond these dates.
Stay tuned for more guidance and be prepared for modfications to current practices and event cancellations. Preventative practices will continue.
MDE/MDHHS: COVID-19 Updated Guidance, March 11, 2020
CDC: What you need to know about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
CDC: Implementation of Mitigation Strategies for Communities with Local COVID-19 Transmission
U of M Health: Flattening the Curve for COVID-19: What Does It Mean and How Can You Help?
LETTERS FROM SUPERINTENDENT ABOUT COVID-19
March 11, 2020
Information regarding COVID-19 has continued to evolve and become more prevalent since my last communication. With confirmed cases of COVID-19 now in the State of Michigan as well as many other states around the nation, it is quickly becoming a reality that government officials, businesses, communities, families, and individuals must continue to remain informed and take precautionary measures to slow the spread of this virus. School districts must also continue to gather information and create multiple plans in order to flexibly respond in a way that supports the recommendations from national, state, and local health organizations and still maintains high levels of student learning. It is my hope that this letter will clarify where Bedford Public Schools is with current and future plans to keep everyone informed as we move forward.
As I mentioned before, much of our work as a district has been spent staying current in order to implement the latest precautionary measures. Our guidance has primarily come from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) until this evening when Governor Whitmer released recommended community mitigation strategies specific to school districts. These strategies that are taken directly from the CDC include recommendations for limiting or canceling activities where more than one hundred individuals gather, canceling or limiting spectator participation at athletic/arts events, canceling or limiting group travel plans, and focusing educational activities to within the school day. While these recommendations will absolutely affect the current district calendar of events including our scheduled academic and extra-curricular events, they are highly recommended by state and national health experts. Additionally, today, I met with representatives from the Monroe County Department of Health, Monroe County Community College, and my fellow Monroe County Superintendents to discuss a countywide approach to implementing some or all of these strategies.
When information about the spread of COVID-19 began increasing and the likelihood of its continued spread became more apparent, I assembled our district leadership team to address potential areas of impact such as athletics, transportation, custodial/maintenance, health services, and instructional services to name a few. It is our goal to make informed decisions and organized plans in order to maintain a safe and healthy learning environment for students and staff. The team works continuously to prepare for the evolving and changing situation and will be working to incorporate recommended guidelines in the coming days.
Please know, at the initial onset of this year’s difficult cold and flu season, BPS began the process of systematically and routinely disinfecting and deep cleaning high traffic areas in each building such as door handles, bathrooms, cafeterias, and classrooms. To date, these measures represent our best resources in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and other contagious viruses. Please continue to reinforce preventative measures at home as well, especially hand washing and keeping children home if they are feeling sick or ill.
Below is a helpful reminder of ways to help prevent the spread of the virus:
-- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
-- Practice elbow bumps instead of handshakes
-- Stay home if you are sick and advise others to do the same.
-- Always cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue or sleeve.
-- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
-- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
-- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, if soap and warm water are not available.
-- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
As a school district, we will continue to monitor and implement the recommendations of the CDC and will work closely with Monroe County Health Department Officials to rely on updated information. In today’s day and age when rumors can spread even faster than infections viruses, it is absolutely imperative that you rely on official informational outlets. If you, or your students, have questions pertaining to BPS or our current progress in dealing with COVID-19 preparedness, please contact our district administration building directly or follow our official media platforms. My research has found that this virus is absolutely dangerous and can be spread rapidly, however the mass hysteria and rumors surrounding it seems to be equally as dangerous. Please rely on the experts I have referred to in this letter and my previous informational letter for accurate and up to date information. I will also continue to provide you with information and updates as they develop.
Thank you for your continued support of BPS, especially during this rapidly evolving time. By working together we can help support our students, staff, and community.
Dr. Carl Shultz
Superintendent, Bedford Public Schools
(734) 850-6001, Office
March 3, 2020
BPS Parents and Guardians,
Many of you have been following news from around the world and within our country regarding COVID-19 (formerly known as Novel Coronavirus 2019) and have thoughts, questions, and concerns about this virus’s impact on our community and your family. It is my goal to share the most current information we have regarding COVID-19 and provide resources for future information. As you are aware, the information on this virus is changing by the day and there is a lot of information being shared through many media sources. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Monroe County Health Department (MCHD) remain our best resources for accurate and up to date information.
While the CDC has not yet provided any formal guidance for schools to prepare for a potential community outbreak, MCHD and other local health departments have emergency preparedness systems ready to be activated if an outbreak occurs in Michigan. Current general recommendations from the CDC, MDHHS, and MCHD for reducing the risk of infection from cold and flu-like viruses include:
-- Thoroughly washing hands for at least 20 seconds
-- Using hand sanitizer to wash hands when soap and water are not available
-- Disinfecting surfaces
-- Covering noses and mouths with a tissue or cloth when sneezing
-- Staying away from sick people and staying home if you are sick
Bedford Public Schools has been taking extra cleaning measures in order to combat the spread of colds and flu, a practice we will continue as an extra layer of protection as we deal with the threat of this virus. Additional information is available on the MDHHS and CDC websites via the links below, including CDC fact sheets that are updated regularly.
The District will remain in close communication with the MCHD and MDHHS, and we will continue to monitor the CDC website and send necessary updates as they become available.
Dr. Carl Shultz
Bedford Public Schools
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