Questions

Updated: April 13th,

2020 Dear Families and Community Members:

Thank you for your continued support, patience, and flexibility as Byron Center Public Schools continues to work collaboratively with the Michigan Department of Education, Kent Intermediate School District, and other agencies to make decisions that are in the best interest of students, staff, and community. Below are responses to common questions being received: Frequently Asked

Questions

Q: Does this mean that school buildings are closed and unavailable for students, staff, and/or community access during the closure period?

A: Yes, all of Byron Center Public Schools are closed until further notice. The district held two open times (March 13 and March 16 from 1:00-3:00pm) which were the only times that the district was open. The district will remain completely shut down until directed by the State of Michigan to open. Administration continues to take guidance on this topic and will communicate to our community when students are able to pick up resources or belongings from their lockers. If there is an absolute emergency and something is needed from the building, please contact your building administrator. At this time, our Technology Department has communicated times for computer/Chromebook issues. If you are experiencing technology issues, please contact Russ Gerbers, Technology Director at rgerbers@bcpsk12.net

Q: Will BCPS continue to offer informational bond meetings as the May 5 bond vote approaches?

A: At this time, all meetings and special events have been canceled. However, the district will be utilizing school messenger, the district website, and other social media platforms to share pertinent information regarding the important upcoming bond.

Q: Upon return next academic school year, how will our students be supported emotionally?

A: The district will be working to make sure our students are supported academically, and just as importantly, emotionally in order to help them process through this situation. Each building will have an identified team to ensure students are receiving the necessary support. Please reach out to your son or daughter’s school if you have any concerns or would like to talk to a building principal, counselor, or social worker.

Q: What does BCPS do if they are informed of a possible positive COVID-19 case?

A: If BCPS is informed of possible COVID-19 case, BCPS will contact the Kent County Health Department regarding next steps BCPS has to take and procedures the district must follow. If the positive COVID-19 case is a BCPS student/parent/employee the KCHD would give direction on appropriate next steps. If it is outside of BCPS, the KCHD handles it with that organization or individual.

Q: Will BC families receive communications with updated information?

A: It is our goal to help and support our families during this unprecedented time. As more information is available, we will communicate with families to ensure you are kept up to date. Building principals will also provide weekly communication. During this time away from school, please feel free to contact your building administrator with questions or concerns.

Q: Where can I find district communications regarding COVID-19?

A: The latest information and resources on COVID-19 from BCPS may be viewed on our district at https://www.bcpsk12.net/district/coronavirus/. Q: How should I communicate with teachers or administrators? A: It is recommended you communicate using email and online school platforms. Teachers and staff will respond to emails within two work days.

Q: What are some resources for students experiencing stress and anxiety in this difficult time?

A: During this unique time, it is important to create the space for children to talk about their questions, fears, concerns, and ideas. Below are some resources for parents to help talk with their children about the COVID-19 outbreak.

● Managing Stress and Anxiety from the CDC
● Talking to Children About COVID-19 - National Association of School Psychologists
● Talking to Teens and Tweens About CoronaVirus – NYTimes
● Talking to Kids About The Corona Virus – ChildMind
● Just For Kids: A Comic Exploring The New Coronavirus – NPR
● PBS Videos and Resources

Q: How do we access the remote learning options if we do not have internet access?

A: Comcast is offering 60 days of free internet to qualifying families at their internetessentials.com site. After the 60 days, the cost to continue this service with Comcast would be $10/month. If you are not a customer and have questions about applying for Internet Essentials please call 1-855-8-INTERNET (1-855-846-8376). Hours of operation are from 8 AM to Midnight (EST), seven days a week. If you are an existing Internet Essentials customer and have questions about your account, please call 1-800-XFINITY (1-800-934-6489).

Q: How is my child able to access the remote learning options if we do not have a computer at home?

A: BCPS Technology Department will be sending a survey out in order to collect this information. Please be sure to communicate your needs on the survey, as well as email your son or daughter’s building principal with any questions.

Q: How can our home internet support the needs of multiple streaming classroom sessions?

A: We believe that online classroom sessions will not be frequent enough to overlap and overwhelm a family’s bandwidth at a given time. Our commitment is to ensure enough flexibility so that all students can participate without penalty due to their internet connection.

Q: Will there be additional opportunities for parents/families to have access to the building during the closure?

A: BCPS Administration will continue to discuss this, but at this time, BCPS will be following the Executive Order of keeping the school closed. If this order is lifted prior to the end of the year, BCPS will communicate to all families in order to pick up materials from their classrooms or lockers, in accordance with all state mandated safety measures.

Q: Is the District Office open?

A: All BCPS buildings are closed. All district office personnel and building administrators continue to work remotely. If you have a need, please email the respective staff.

Q: What if my child receives Special Education services?

A: To be in compliance with rules, regulations, and laws, the district will provide students with disabilities the same remote learning options as their general education peers to the maximum extent possible.

Q: What if my child is being evaluated for Section 504/Special Education?

A: The timeline for initial evaluations and reevaluations are on hold/waived if scheduled during the closure. All incomplete/in-process evaluations will be suspended due to inaccessibility to students.

Q: What if my child’s annual Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) is due during the school closure?

A: IEP timelines are not waived, and, thus, we will adhere to compliance dates for IEPs. We also recognize that postponing all of these meetings could cause undue hardship when we return. The Special Education Supervisor, Joanne Platt, and each student’s case manager will communicate with families regarding these meetings as applicable. Options for phone or video conferencing may be considered. There will likely be cases in which the district is unable to meet an IEP deadline. Based on guidance from the state, there will be some leniency given to districts who do not meet an IEP deadline during this mandatory school closure.

Q: Will we have an extended school year?

A: No. The last day of school for BCPS will be Friday, June 5th, 2020.

Q: How will the closure impact scheduled spring standardized assessments (i.e. M-STEP, PSAT, SAT, etc.)?

A: All standardized assessments have been cancelled or postponed. The SAT for high school students will take place in the Fall on a date yet determined.

Q: Are high school and middle school spring athletics cancelled?

A: Yes, the MHSAA has announced that both Winter and Spring sports are officially cancelled.

Q: Will Pay-to-Participate payments be refunded to middle school and high school athletic families?

A: Returning athletes will have their spring pay-to-participate fees credited to their next sports season. Families requesting refunds should contact Marcia Schierbeek, athletic department secretary at mschierbeek@bcpsk12.net.