Marcellus COVID-19 Notices

COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan

COVID-19  Preparedness and Response Plan

(Executive Order 2020-142 District Preparedness Plan Template)

Click here to see full plan

Revised 7:00AM
07/10/20

Name of District:  Marcellus Community Schools
Address of District: 305 West Arbor, Marcellus, MI  49067
District Code Number: 14050
Web Address of the District: www.marcelluscs.org
Name of Intermediate School District: Lewis Cass Intermediate School District
Name of Authorizing Body (if applicable): 



 

 

July 30, 2020 Superintendent's Parent Letter - Fall 2020 Options

July 30, 2020

Dear Wildcat Families:

This past spring was anything but typical for our school community.  COVID-19  forced us to create remote learning plans overnight, deliver instruction in new and unique ways (sometimes without access to technology) and try to maintain a sense of community while being socially distant. On behalf of everyone at Marcellus Community Schools, I commend you for coming together during this challenging time. It is clear that when we work together, our students, our staff members and our community thrive.

This summer, Governor Gretchen Whitmer unveiled the MI Safe Start Plan, a guide outlining a phasing structure to support Michiganders as we progress through the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, on June 30, a MI Safe Schools: 2020-21 Return to School Roadmap was provided to guide school districts as they develop return to school plans based on each of the phases from the MI Safe Start Plan.  Since that release, school officials have pored over the Roadmap’s safety recommendations and requirements, studied recommendations from the Centers For Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics, met with the Van Buren/ Cass Health Department, and gathered input from parents and teachers.   We are committed to doing all we can so that students have the opportunity to safely resume in-person learning this fall.  However, we understand, and survey results confirm, that many parents are currently uncomfortable with sending their children back to school full time. 

 
The Marcellus Community Schools Board of Education is determined to offer parents choices that work best for their individual circumstances and comfort levels. Consequently, the district is strongly considering offering all of the following models for a Phase 4 or 5 fall return to school.  There are two potential options for students in grades DK-5 and three potential options for students in grades 6-12.
 

Grades DK-5 Options- Parents can choose one of the following:
 

  • Full 5 day, in-person instruction with required safety protocols in place

    OR
     
  • 100% virtual instruction- students take online courses using fully developed courses through Calvert, with a dedicated online teacher as well as a local Marcellus teacher of record. The local teacher of record will provide support & mentoring for parents and students. All virtual students will have to participate in any state mandated assessments. Parents should consider the extra demands and responsibilities of a fully online learning environment.
     

Grades 6- 12 Options- Parents can choose one of the following:
 

  • “Simple” Hybrid option- grades 6-8 participate in remote instruction on Monday and Tuesday and in-person instruction Wednesday through Friday.
    Grades 9-12 participate in-person on Mondays & Tuesdays and remote instruction on Wednesday through Fridays.

 

OR
 

  • Hybrid with Lab- Five days per week in person learning that incorporates a combination of online and in-person learning WHILE the student is physically present at school. In this model, students would participate in the same remote and in-person instruction as the Simple Hybrid students, but would have daily, scheduled, in-person access to and support from subject area teachers.   The “lab”  would be set up in a large space to achieve the 6 foot recommended social distance between desks. Again, teachers would have dedicated time built into their schedules to work with learning lab students. This model may alleviate internet accessibility issues for some families.

    OR
     
  • 100% virtual instruction- parents /students can choose from a variety of online courses that will be supported by Marcellus teachers.  Parents and students should consider the additional demands and time management skills needed to be successful in a fully online learning environment.  These courses will cover the same content standards as in-person courses; however, in most cases, they will not be the same. All virtual students will have to participate in any state mandated assessments.
     

To be clear, if all of the above models are offered, parents would register for the model that best fits their needs.  District officials believe we can offer a quality educational program in any of the models, but know that online or remote learning cannot replace face to face instruction.

In terms of safety measures, the district plans to use larger spaces, when needed and feasible, to promote social distancing (e.g., removing dividing walls between classrooms or repurposing larger computer labs and gymnasiums into larger learning spaces).  Additionally, elementary students will remain with their homeroom teacher for lunch, and special teachers will rotate into the classroom.  Recess and physical education will be offered by class or cohort, and face masks are not required when outside.

 Middle and high school students will be in grade level cohorts, generally dependent upon what math course the student needs, and teachers will rotate into those instructional spaces to provide instruction.   Alternatively, smaller groups of students from the cohort may be pulled by their subject area teacher to an open classroom or to an outside space ( where students can be socially distanced and remove their masks when outside).  The idea is to limit mixing of students and to provide time to clean desks before another small group can enter.  All staff and grade 6-12 students are required to wear face coverings. Lunch will be with a teacher and eating outside will be encouraged.

Increased cleaning, sanitation, hand hygiene and handwashing protocols will be implemented as per the Roadmap requirements and recommendations. The district will ensure an adequate supply of hand sanitizer is available upon entry to the bus, in classrooms and throughout each building.  In addition, the district has procured several handwashing stations for use throughout the building. 

Other safety protocols ask that parents screen their children each day for symptoms   Staff are required to self screen each day as well.  Information and protocols specific to the school building will be provided by building principals over the next few weeks.

Regarding transportation, many parents have indicated that they will transport their children to school instead of using the district provided bus transportation. This is encouraged when possible.   Please understand, as required by the Roadmap,  that all students who ride the bus are required to wear face coverings unless medically exempted.   A plan for drop off and pick up and for building entry and exit will be communicated once we get closer to the start of school on August 31. 

It is also important to remember that, although we are currently planning to host in-person instruction this fall, if our area slips back to Phase 3, school buildings will not be open to students and instruction must occur remotely. As always, we will provide updates to you via the school messaging system.

 

Please fill out this form https://forms.gle/a7qnztGZw3dKzwsQ8  to  indicate the option you will choose for your child(ren).  Please fill it out and return it by Monday, August 10.  You may return the form by dropping it off or mailing it to the Marcellus Community Schools Administration Office (305 W. Arbor), or placing it in the curbside drop boxes located in front the school buildings.  Alternatively, please feel free to call my office at 269-646-7655 to let us know of your choice or email the form to melinda.bohan@marcelluscs.org.
 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or your student’s building principal.

Sincerely,

Nanette Pauley
Superintendent

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and Response to Survey Comments

1. What will the virtual model look like, and will it be the same as in class assignments? 
The 100% virtual model will cover the same grade or course level content standards, but will not be the same material or assignments. 

2.  If we start as virtual for the 4th graders, will they be able to return to the school when the pandemic and accompanied restrictions are lifted?
Yes.  For students in elementary grades, the transition is easier.  However, for high school students, a return from the virtual program will likely need to be done at a quarter or semester break.  Parents can talk with building principals to determine appropriate timing for transferring between learning options.

3. Will I have support from staff to help them through a new environment of learning if I choose to do virtual learning? Will they have materials needed?
For elementary virtual students, you will have support from both Edmentum teachers and a local Marcellus teacher. Materials will essentially be online, but any other required supplies such as a chromebook can be loaned to the parent/student.

 

4. Will there be opportunities during the physical school day to remove their mask so it isn't continuous or will they be expected to have it on at all times from the bus to school to back home?
Students in grades K-5 will not be required to wear masks in the classroom.  However, they are required to wear them on buses and in hallways.  Students in grades 6- 12 are required to wear masks throughout the day and on the bus.  That said, teachers and staff are committed to getting students outside, when possible, where they can socially distance and remove face coverings.  (e.g., holding class and eating lunch outside)

5. Do parents have to select the same option for ALL of their children or can we choose a different option for each child?  
Parents may choose the option that works best for each of their children; the option does not have to be the same for each child.

6.  If I choose the 100% virtual option, will there be zoom classes and requirements for the kids to check in and participate?  Keeping the routine schedule is important.

Yes.  There will be specific participation and progress requirements for all options, including virtual.  There will be weekly 2 way communication for all virtual students which may include email or phone conversations or virtual meetings with a local teacher of record.  However, course work will be totally online and  virtual teachers will manage the courses.  A local teacher will be available at scheduled times to provide additional support and assistance.    For students in grades 6-12, a local teacher will manage the course and the teacher will have time built into the day to work with virtual students.
For all virtual courses, daily attendance will be recorded as measured by engagement or completion of online lessons (this is not just a log in), in virtual meetings, and in some cases, through phone and email correspondence.   (Districts are waiting for potential changes to pupil accounting rules).

7. Is Van Buren Tech being offered?
Yes, it is our understanding that Van Buren Technology Center will offer a hybrid model where Marcellus students are divided into two cohorts.  Cohort A will attend in-person on Mondays and Tuesdays and participate in remote learning the rest of the week.  Cohort B will participate in remote learning on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and attend in-person on Thursdays and Fridays.  

8.
How will my child’s IEP be met with the different options? 
A local special education teacher will continue to provide services according to the IEP.  Conversations with the special education teacher and IEPC are important to have in order to ensure your child is supported and successful. 
 

9. I am uncomfortable with the unclear nature of the "health department testing protocol" . Every time my child sneezes or has a cough, will we have to jump through covid19 hoops?
Parents are asked to screen their child daily,  before boarding the bus or arriving at school.  Parents should look for symptoms,  such as fever or chills, shortness of breath, new loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose (not attributable to allergies),  or fatigue. The expectation is that children who are sick stay home and be fever free for at least 24 hours (without the use of medication).
See the Centers for Disease Control’s website for a more complete list of possible symptoms. 

 

10. It would be helpful if the hybrid model could group families on the same days instead of by grade. I’d prefer all virtual over all in person but my first choice would be a combination.
If your children are in grades 6- 12, choosing the Hybrid with Lab option might be the best option in this case.  If the Simple Hybrid were offered on the same days for all 6 through 12th grade students,  mitigation and safety protocols could not be put into place as effectively. 
(The district is unable to offer full in-person, hybrid and online options simultaneously at the elementary school).

 11. Will band students be able to participate in Marching band if they do virtual option?
Yes.  However, school transportation will not be provided.  Band will be held outside,  weather permitting.  Band Director Essex will be able to provide the details on how your child’s participation will look.  Daily “attendance” in the virtual option is required.

12. I think this a unique opportunity for small, rural schools to provide their students the opportunity of safe, in-person education. Face-to-face learning is the most comprehensive and effective method for moving our students forward academically, socially and emotionally. This would give Marcellus Public School students the distinction of having had a full year, of high quality, teacher led instruction, putting our future Wildcat graduates ahead of the rest. What an opportunity!
Marcellus Educators agree with the sentiment.  That said, a large number of parents have concerns about a K-12 full return to in-person instruction during a pandemic.  We are hopeful that providing several options, including the opportunity for full teacher-led instruction (K-5),  as well as the Hybrid with Lab (grades 6-12, 5 days), along with the 100% virtual option, are responsive to the needs and desires of all of our families.
 

13.  What does this mean- “cooperate with the health department for testing protocol and responding to positive tests?” - Does this mean you be testing our kids or giving them vaccines without consent?
Absolutely not.  The district will not  be involved in any type of COVID-19 testing or vaccinating of students.  The Roadmap requires that districts “cooperate with the public health department if a confirmed case of COIVD-19 is identified, and in particular, must collect the contact information for any close contacts of the  affected individual from two days before he or she showed symptoms to the time he or she was last present at the school.”  Close contact is defined as 6 feet or closer for  15+ minutes.   According to the Van Buren Cass Health Department, context will be considered  (what safety and mitigation protocols were in place) and they will conduct any necessary contact tracing.    (This is one reason the district is cohorting students and using seat assignments on buses, for example).
 

14.  How are you going to social distance with K-5 going 5 days a week?

What will the class sizes be?
K-5 students will be socially distanced to the extent feasible.  Desks will face one direction and extra furniture will be removed from the classrooms.  The goal is for 20 or fewer students in any classroom. Given the number of parents who have preliminarily indicated they will sign up for the 100% virtual option, it is anticipated that class sizes will be smaller, particularly at the elementary school.
Additional safety precautions include using larger spaces for larger class sizes so that social distancing can be realized.  (e.g., use of gym, removing classroom wall divider walls). 
Teachers will use table dividers during “table time” activities.

15As much as I love the hybrid model, my boys need the structure of in-person learning. My husband & I are both full time, essential employees so the option to stay home & help/monitor with any virtual learning is not a choice for us.
Full, five day in person instruction will be offered K-5.  If your boys are in grades 6-12, consider the Hybrid with Lab option.  That option allows 5 days, in-person participation as well.

16.  Will any chosen option affect sports?
Full time students, in any option, will be able to participate in athletics.  However, eligibility and attendance/ participation requirements will still need to be met.

17.  I would say 5 days in person, but that’s a long time with a mask on. I couldn’t do it myself.
We understand.  This is one reason the district wants to offer the hybrid options for students in grades 6-12.  Please note that teachers are committed to getting kids outside when possible, weather permitting.
 

18. My younger children will not understand why the older kids don’t go 5 days a week. It is important that every one of my kids attend in person 5 days a week. 
That makes sense.  You might consider the Hybrid with Lab option for your older children.  That option provides 5 days of in- person participation at school.  Subject area teachers will have dedicated time in the Lab to work with students (on both in-person and remotely delivered lessons).
 

19.  Why isn’t the hybrid model being offered to DK-5 students?
Simply put, the district is  better able to implement safety requirements and recommendations at the elementary level, even when all students are in attendance for five days a week. Conversely, at the secondary level, since the structure is based on students’ changing classrooms each hour, there are many more barriers to implementing the safety and mitigation measures.  In addition, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics COVID-19 Planning Considerations: Guidance to School Re-entry,  “there is likely a greater impact of physical distancing on risk reduction of COVID in secondary schools than early childhood or elementary education.”  Both of the aforementioned hybrid models allow for increased physical distancing for secondary students and our teachers and staff.

Link to survey

https://forms.gle/a7qnztGZw3dKzwsQ8

July 13, 2020 Superintendent's Letter

Recently, Michigan school districts received important state guidance that must be used in planning for the 2020-21 return to school. The guidance, including the Governor's Return to School Roadmap and Executive Order 2020-142, requires schools to design a compliant return to learning plan, with specific safety requirements and recommendations dependent upon which phase we find ourselves. Read More

PDF DocumentMI SAFE SCHOOLS

June 21, 2020 Superintendent's Letter

On June 1, Governor Whitmer announced that much of Michigan would move into Phase 4 of the MI Safe Start Plan.  On June 17, Governor Whitmer declared that Michigan schools could return to in person learning, with strict safety protocols in place, during Phase 4.  However, schools will not learn of the requirements until June 30, when a “Michigan’s Return to School Roadmap” is expected to be released. The roadmap will spell out details about what will be required and recommended for schools’ reopening.  According to the press release, “the governor will consider the six phases of the MI Safe Start Plan and the Michigan Economic Recover Council’s 8 regions of the state to determine when, where, and how face-to-face instruction can resume. Districts, students, staff, and families must be nimble and be prepared to move backwards if there is evidence of community spread of the virus.”

Marcellus Community Schools eagerly awaits the guidance so that a safe and equitable back to school plan can be developed for all students.  For the last several weeks, educators have been speculating about potential safety requirements such as social distancing, face masks, temperature checks, and building, transportation, and classroom capacity limitations.   With the June 30 guidance, the district expects more concrete information to help focus planning.

The district hopes there can be a complete return to face-to-face instruction in the fall. However, we are also cognizant that some parents and students may be uncomfortable with a return to in-person instruction, regardless of the safety protocols.   In that case, the district will continue work to design robust distance learning options that adhere to any Michigan Department of Education rules in place in the fall.   It should be noted that, during the spring school closure and under executive order, districts were required to implement a Continuity of Learning Plan (COL) in a matter of days.  The rules under which that COL plan was implemented are likely very different than what they will look like in the future.  For instance, attendance, grading, the Michigan Merit curriculum, as well as state assessments are all areas in which the Michigan Department of Education has purview, and districts will need to follow any applicable guidelines for remote /virtual learning.   Marcellus Community Schools will advocate for learning options that best accommodate the needs of all of our students and families.

Last week, the district sent out a survey to parents in an effort to gather feedback on the COL and to gauge comfort levels with possible fall scenarios. Many thanks to those parents who were able to respond to the survey.  Once the June 30 guidance is issued and the district has the opportunity to review it, additional parental input will be solicited. The district appreciates the patience and support of our parents and community members during these uncertain times.  Parents may contact me at npauley@marcelluscs.org or at 269-646-7655 with any questions, to provide input or to make suggestions. 

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Marcellus Community Schools Early Middle College program started in the 2017- 2018 school year.  I am pleased to announce that the first Marcellus Early College cohort graduated from Southwestern Michigan College on June 13.  Earning associate degrees were Lexi Bainbridge, Tessa Henry and Andrew Pachay!  Congratulations to the inaugural early college graduates.

June 7, 2020 Superintendent's Letter

The 2019-20 school year concludes on June 11 and promises to be one for the history books.  The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent extended school closure certainly impacted our daily lives, including the manner in which education was delivered. Sadly, many of the traditional celebrations and events, including class parties, athletics and band, field trips, swim camp, robotics and many other important student experiences had to be cancelled. The cancellation of events has been especially consequential for the senior class.

The Class of 2020 was forced to end their high school careers in March, at a moment’s notice.  The group missed out on many important traditions and celebratory events.  In order to minimize the impact and celebrate the Class of 2020, educators, class advisors, parents, and our community pulled together to create new ways to celebrate our seniors.   Instead of the traditional events, there were yard signs, a Facebook Senior Spotlight series, a virtual Senior Honors’ Night, and last weekend’s Senior Parade.

Below are scenes from the June 7 Senior Parade. Many thanks to the community for the assistance and extra effort to make this event possible.  Congratulations to the Marcellus Class of 2020!

On August 9, at 3:00 p.m., an in-person graduation is planned but will be predicated on whatever executive orders or guidance are in place at that time.  Now that the state has moved to phase four of the MI Safe Start Plan and restrictions are easing, we are increasingly hopeful that a traditional event can take place.

Reminders & Announcements:
 

  • All textbooks and chromebooks should be returned to the school this month.  Please refer to building level newsletters or contact the school office for drop off dates and times.
  • Grab and Go meal distribution will conclude on June 12.  During the school closure through the end of May, Marcellus Community Schools served over 67,000 meals to our families.  Many thanks to our amazing food service staff!
  • Students who are age 5 by September 1, 2020, are eligible to attend Kindergarten.  Parents of eligible students may register online via the Kindergarten Round Up page on the district website.  Parents may also call the school office at 269-646-9029, or email Principal Spaulding at tspaulding@marcelluscs.org to begin the process.
  • Report cards will be mailed home within the next two weeks. Questions may be directed to building principals.
  • The 2020-21 school year will begin on August 31, 2020.  More details about what the return to school may look like will be forthcoming, once the district receives guidance from the state.  In the next few weeks, the district will be sending out a survey to gather input from parents.  As always, parents may contact me at 269-646-7655 or email me at npauley@marelluscs.org with any feedback, input or questions.

May 30, 2020 Superintendent's Letter

     June 7 was to be the date when the Marcellus High School’s Class of 2020 would participate in a traditional graduation ceremony.  But, that was pre-pandemic.  After surveying seniors, a decision was made to postpone the traditional ceremony until August 9 in the hope that our seniors and their families could enjoy an in-person event.   While that remains the plan, holding a more traditional ceremony will be dependent upon the executive orders that are in place at that time. 

    In the meantime and in an effort to celebrate the class of 2020 on the original June 7 graduation day, the high school is facilitating a parade.   The parade will begin at 1:00 p.m.  Seniors and their parents are invited to decorate their cars and line up at the Marcellus Community Education Center (old middle school), at 12:30p.m.   The parade will proceed through town and end with a drive by of the front of the high school.  

     Spectators can cheer and celebrate the Class of 2020 throughout the parade route. Spectators are invited to display celebratory signs, decorate cars, honk horns, and cheer on our seniors who have missed out on many important high school experiences.   Participants are asked to remain in their vehicles, and spectators are asked to maintain social distancing.   Let’s make this a memorable event for the graduating class!

Parade details:

Seniors and parents start arriving at the old middle school on the north side at 12:30 p.m. 

One vehicle per graduate, appropriately decorated.  Occupants should remain in the vehicle at all times.

The parade will start at 1:00 p.m., head North on Burney St., West on Main Street, all the way to Brandt St.  The parade will end after passing by the front of the high school.

Spectators are encouraged to line the parade route to celebrate the Class of 2020, while observing social distancing guidelines.

     Sadly, the pandemic has halted many meaningful and memory- making events. That is difficult to accept.  However,  Marcellus has always come together in difficult times.  It is my hope that our community will again come together, follow social distancing guidelines, and celebrate the accomplishments of the Class of 2020.  Our seniors have worked hard for thirteen years; their accomplishment and perseverance should be recognized!  

     Many thanks to the village of Marcellus, the Cass County Sheriff’s Department, and the Marcellus Fire Department for assisting Marcellus Community Schools with this endeavor.   Questions about the parade can be directed to Mr. Price at 646-5081 or dprice@marcelluscs.org.  Information can also be found on the school district’s website and facebook page. 

 

May 25, 2020 Superintendent's Letter

     Last week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released interim guidance for schools’ reopening that is described in three steps or phases.  Those steps are dependent upon the level of community transmission and the presence of COVID-19 cases within the school.  The CDC document also provides recommendations commensurate with each phase of the outbreak.  Among the step-dependent recommendations are social distancing, disinfecting and cleaning protocols, limiting visitors, the use of face coverings for staff, limitations on gatherings and field trips, as well as restricting mixing among student groups.

     In addition to the CDC’s interim guidance, Governor Whitmer recently issued Executive Order 2020-88 which calls for the creation of a Return to Learning Advisory Council.  According to the executive order,  “the panel- which will be comprised of students, parents, frontline educators, administrators and public health officials – will be tasked with providing the COVID-19 Task Force on Education within the State Emergency Operations Center with recommendations on how to safely, equitably, and efficiently return to school in the fall.  The State of Michigan will also partner with a national nonprofit organization called Opportunity Labs to bring national expertise to this project.

     It is expected that the path forward will include, among other things, some degree of social distancing at school and on buses, and that the task force will determine appropriate cleaning protocols and the use or personal protection equipment.   Until those guidelines are released, however, there remain more questions than answers.

     Despite the fact that the task force has not started it’s work, a few larger schools have released preliminary plans for their fall sessions.  Some of those plans  include a schedule whereby half the student body physically reports for face -to-face instruction two days per week - half on Monday and Wednesday and the other half on Thursday and Friday-  and completes home studies or online learning during the other three days.    On the three days students are not in school buildings, they participate in online assignments. Obviously, there are many challenges with that scenario, from child care and student internet access, to less face-to-face instruction with high quality teachers.  

    While these plans are not ideal, they may offer a glimpse of what some or all Michigan schools will look like for the 2020-21 school year.  It is my fervent hope that this is not the situation under which we open in the fall! 

     Though there are more questions than answers, the district is exploring ways to reopen safely in the fall. School officials are attempting to plan for many possible scenarios, but what the school’s reopening in the fall looks like remains to be seen. With the threat of significant school aid budget cuts on top of potentially onerous re-engagement guidelines,  planning for the 2020-21 school opening is challenging.   In all scenarios, Marcellus Community Schools will follow the guidelines or mandates established by the state and will work with parents to make whatever feasible accommodations may be permitted or needed for students, with the best interest of families at the forefront.

     I am hopeful that guidance regarding our fall opening will be forthcoming soon.  When it is, Marcellus Community Schools will work with our families, students and staff to ensure the best possible situation for all.  As of this writing, the school district plans to return to school on August 31.  For more information about CDC interim guidance, visit the CDC.gov website and search for  “interim guidance for child care and K-12 schools.”

May 15, 2020 Middle/High Notice

Dear Class of 2020 and Parents/Guardians:

I hope this communication finds you safe and well.

Senior Honors Night will be pre-recorded and available for viewing on our website www.marcelluscs.org and the Marcellus Community Schools Facebook page at 7:00 p.m. on the original date, Thursday, May 28th.

Given that Governor Whitmer's most recent Executive Order has extended the Stay At Home Order through May 28th and the simple fact that we cannot predict the future, graduation will be held on Sunday, August 9th, 2020 at 3:00 p.m.

This date was selected and approved by the Marcellus Board of Education for two primary reasons. 1.) The State of Michigan's epidemiologists, given current trend rates, are predicting that the soonest we will be able to recover from our Stay At Home Order and social distancing is near the end of July. 2.) According to the survey that was sent to seniors, 96% would like to have a commencement that is as traditional as possible given the circumstances and state guidance.

As we get closer to the August 9th date, I will announce the format in which the commencement will follow (one of the options from the survey). Please know that I will do my best to provide you with as traditional a ceremony as guidance from the state allows.

Thank you for your continued support and patience. Respectfully,

Lynn Wagner, Principal

May 10, 2020 Superintendent's Letter

Updates From Marcellus Community Schools

Marcellus Elementary’s Kindergarten Round Up, like so many other events, looks very different this year.  Instead of the traditional face to face gathering, Marcellus Elementary is accepting online sign ups.  Please visit the marcelluscs.org website, go to the elementary page, and click on the Kindergarten Round Up tab.  Parents will find an online form to complete and can view an introductory video about Marcellus Elementary’s developmental and traditional kindergarten programs. Once the online form is completed, school staff will mail the registration packet to the home mailing address.  Parents can return the registration packet to the school via mail or set up an appointment by calling 269-646-9209.  

In an effort to increase student access to online learning resources, the district has extended WIFI access to the parking lots of Marcellus Middle High School and at the Marcellus Community Education Center (old middle school).The community is welcome to park in the lots to use the free internet access.  The public should park near the front of the buildings in order to receive the best WIFI signal possible and are asked to observe applicable social distancing measures.   

The original date for high school graduation was June 7, but that date is looking unlikely given the extension of the Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order.   With so many factors still unclear, such as an end date for social distancing and limitations on gatherings, rescheduling a date for a traditional ceremony is difficult.  Still, a face to face ceremony is the preference of all school officials.  Last week, high school principal Mrs. Lynn Wagner sent a survey to all seniors.  Her goal is to gather input about how long of a postponement might be reasonable, as well as what other potential graduation scenarios might look like.  Parents may also weigh in by sending an email to Principal Wagner at lwagner@marcelluscs.org.  

Graduation is a significant milestone for students and Marcellus Community School’s faculty, staff and school board members want the Class of 2020 to be celebrated in a memorable fashion!   School officials will consider input from seniors and their parents/ guardians before making any decision.  Any decisions about graduation will be published as soon as they are made.   

Many thanks to the Marcellus Class of 2020 advisers for their diligent effort to recognize the members of the senior class.  Seniors, who are missing out on the last couple of months of their senior year, recently found a congratulatory sign in their yard.  Special thanks to advisors Michele Schuur and Rachael Tone for their work to make this time as special as possible for seniors. 

May 3, 2020 Superintendent's FAQ Letter

Over the last several weeks, I’ve answered questions with the words, “I don’t know” more often than I would like.  Uncertainty is uncomfortable for most people, including me.

But, here’s what I do know:

  1.  Marcellus teachers, administrators, and support staff are creative, caring and hard working. Designing and implementing distance learning in a matter of weeks is no simple task.  They are doing everything they can to reach all  students in a less than ideal environment. They are appreciated!
  2. School staff are not immune to challenges posed by this pandemic.  Like many others, many teachers have their own children to teach while also adjusting to drastically new personal and work situations.  Still, they go above and beyond to support all students!
  3. Dianna Olson is the district’s one-person Information technology (IT) department. She and her work are invaluable!
  4. The Marcellus Board of Education members want what is best for all students.  Since the school closure, the district has loaned out close to one hundred chromebooks, invested in additional technology, and increased sanitation and disinfectant routines. They are compassionate community leaders!
  5. Our support, counseling and food service staff will do whatever it takes to implement the food distribution and distance learning plans.  In fact, each week, they distribute thousands of meals and nearly 200 printed learning packets. They really are superheroes!
  6. Despite all the challenges associated with this pandemic, student participation rates in the distance learning plan are approximately 85%.  While we strive for 100%, we understand the situation may not lend itself to that.  Marcellus students and parents are resilient!
  7. Community members have made and donated face masks, food, and volunteered to help distribute meals and learning packets. Even with differing opinions about the Stay Home, Stay Safe order, our community pulls together to support one another and our kids. I am proud of our community!

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 4 -8.  I suspect that most have an increased respect and appreciation for teachers;  I’ve seen the comical social media messages and memes that communicate just that message.  I hope that appreciation and respect for educators continues well beyond this school closure. Please join me in saluting the extraordinary teachers and educators of Marcellus Community Schools! Even during an extended school closure, Marcellus educators are extraordinary!

April 20, 2020 Marcellus Elementary Grades Update

Dear Marcellus Elementary Family,

First let me say I hope you and your family are safe and healthy as you read this letter. Thank you so much for your patience and understanding as we have adjusted as a school community. I am extremely appreciative of our students, parents, teachers and staff for their positivity, flexibility and resilience during this difficult time.

As you know, our continuity of learning plan goes into effect today. Our goal is to provide continuous learning for our students while the school buildings are closed. As we do this, we want to eliminate as much stress as possible for our students, parents, and teachers. While it is our responsibility to continue to educate our children, we also recognize the difficulties this brings to many families. Please know our team at Marcellus Elementary is here to support you as we continue through the remainder of the school year.

Due to the unusual circumstances this year, there will be no 3rd or 4th marking period report card.  Instead, the students will receive a second semester report card at the conclusion of the school year. We have provided you with a report of progress based upon your student’s grades on March 13, 2020, the date of the original closing of the schools. Students who were performing at an undesirable level can improve their grades by completing the work assigned to them during the closure. Although we know some students may be unable to fully participate, teachers and administration expect all students to participate to the extent possible.

Over the next several weeks, district administration will monitor student participation in the distance learning program and will look for ways to improve our plan. Please contact the school office if you need assistance or need to change how your child is receiving their learning assignments.

Sincerely,

Tracy Spaulding

April 19, 2020 Superintendent's Letter

April 19, 2020

  Welcome back to school- distance learning style.  Marcellus Community Schools rolled out the Continuity of Learning (COL) or distance learning plan on Monday.  The plan includes an online learning option for those students who have internet access and a paper option for those without internet access.  Printed packets were made available at Friday’s Grab and Go food distribution and many were mailed to students’ homes.  

     It is important to know that while no student will be penalized if they are unable to fully participate, teachers and principals expect all students to participate to the extent possible.  Nonetheless, teachers and district officials understand that the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent school closure have created challenges and hardships for students and their families.  Further, it is understood that circumstances for each family may be very different.   It is with a keen awareness of that context that the district created two options (online and printed packets) within the COL plan.  Regardless of the option, successful implementation will require cooperation, flexibility and frequent communication.  While teachers and staff will work hard to communicate with all students and/or parents each week, parents are encouraged to contact school staff for any needed assistance.  Working together will better position our students for the return of face to face instruction. 

    Moving forward, the district is working to provide access to the internet in the parking lots of both the middle high school and the old middle school.  This means students/parents may be able to access the internet and/or download materials when in or near those parking lots. Parents will be notified when this project is completed.   While this is not a perfect solution, it is another avenue to access online instructional material.  None of this can replace face-to-face instruction with our teachers, but it may help students be better prepared to return to school when it reopens. 

     Over the next several weeks, district officials will monitor student participation in the distance learning program and will look for ways to improve the delivery of services.  Suggestions and feedback are welcome.  Parents may contact me at 269-646-7655 or npauley@marcelluscs.org

 

 

Marcellus Continuity of Learning and COVID-19 Response Plan

April 13, 2020 VOICE Communication from Superintendent Pauley

April 13, 2020

Good evening, this is Mrs. Bohan from Marcellus Community Schools calling with some important information.  As you may know, Michigan schools are required to provide distance  education to their students.  Marcellus community schools has developed two options- an online option and a printed learning packet option. 

Please watch your mail for a letter detailing how to access both of the distance learning options. 

Those letters were sent to each family today.  Please do not hesitate to contact the schools with any questions.  Messages are being checked daily.  We hope you are all staying safe, have a wonderful night.  

April 13, 2020 Marcellus Middle/High School Continuation of Learning Plan Parent Letter

Friday, April 13, 2020

 

Marcellus students and families:

 

We hope this communication finds you safe, healthy and ready to continue learning!

 

Beginning Friday, April 17, 2020, Marcellus Community Schools will provide weekly learning packets to students without internet connectivity or a device. What you receive in those packets will also be found on our website www.marcelluscs.org and will be printable. For those who have reliable internet connectivity and a device and do not need packets, you will access teachers’ web pages via www.marcelluscs.org where you will find links to assignments and Study Island.

If you are able to pick up your packet (neighbors and other family members can pick them up for you as well), between 11:30a.m. and 1:30p.m. on the dates listed below: Please note: middle/high school students/parents must pull up to the middle/high building to retrieve their packets and circle around to the elementary building for the Grab and Go.

Packets will be mailed out on the following dates: (website and online assignments will be available on these same dates by 3:00p.m.)

Friday, April 17th

Friday, May 15th

Friday, April 24th

Friday, May 22nd

Friday, May 1st

Friday, May 29th

Friday, May 8th

Friday, June 5th

 

RETURNING COMPLETED WORK: Weekly assignments should be returned/turned in on the following dates: They can be returned/turned in during Grab and Go times (11:30 - 12:30) or deposited in drop boxes that will be located in front of the middle/high school until 7:00p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays. If you return them during Grab and GoMiddle/high students will return them at their building as someone will be outside collecting them).

Friday, April 24th

Friday, May 22nd

Friday, May1st

Friday, May 29th

Friday, May 8th

Friday, June 5th

Friday, May 15th

Friday, June 12th

If you are unable to return completed work for any reason, please leave a message at the school (269- 646-5081) and we will work with you to make arrangements.

Teachers will hold “office hours” for students to reach out by phone, Zoom, or Google Hangout for assistance on assignments or with any questions they may have. Please remember, teachers are always available by email any time as well! “Office Hours” are as follows:

Monday 8:00 - 11:00     Ross, Fountain, Evans, Davies

Monday 12:00 - 3:00     Carlson, Osbeck, Townsend, Essex, DeCou

Tuesday 8:00 - 11:00    Cropsey, Laabs, McCloskey

Tuesday 12:00 - 3:00    Moe, Draper, Knight, Ramirez

 

Stay well,

 

Lynn Wagner, Principal

Marcellus Middle/High School

April 13, 2020 Marcellus Elementary Continuation of Learning Plan Parent Letter

MARCELLUS ELEMENTARY

Monday, April 13, 2020


Dear Marcellus Students and Families:

We hope this communication finds you safe, healthy and ready to continue learning! 

Beginning Friday, April 17, 2020, Marcellus Community Schools will begin our continuation of learning program. Students can complete work online or they will be provided weekly learning packets for those without internet connectivity or a device. For those who have reliable internet connectivity and a device and do not need packets, you will continue to access the information/assignments in the same manner in which you have been using, for example: Google Classroom or other platform as assigned by your teacher. Directions on how to access Study Island are included in this mailing.

In addition to using Study Island, students with devices are still encouraged to use Imagine Math and/or Imagine Language and Literacy. These programs target our students' instructional needs at their personal academic level. Continued practice with these programs would be beneficial to them.

If you are able to pick up your packet (neighbors and other family members can pick them up for you as well),   they will be available between 11:30a.m. and 1:30p.m. on the dates listed below: Please note: Elementary families will pick up their material packets near the 5th/6th grade entrance and then proceed to Grab and Go Meals. Meals are only handed out between 11:30 - 12:30. 

Packets will be mailed out on the following dates: (website and online assignments will be available on these same dates by 3:00p.m.)

Friday, April 17th

Friday, May 15th

Friday, April 24th

Friday, May 22nd

Friday, May 1st

Friday, May 29th

Friday, May 8th

Friday, June 5th

 

RETURNING COMPLETED WORK: Weekly assignments should be returned/turned in on the following dates: They can be returned/turned in during Grab and Go times or deposited in drop boxes that will be located in front of the elementary school on Tuesday and Friday - please return completed work in the plastic bag provided.

If you are unable to return completed work for any reason, please contact the school and we will work with you to make arrangements for the return of the completed work.

If your family requested the loan of a district Chromebook, you will be contacted by the school to arrange the pickup of your device(s).

Our teachers will have limited hours on campus; however, they are available to assist your student Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM. You can reach them via email or call the school and we will have them to return your call as soon as possible.

Stay well,

 

Tracy Spaulding, Principal
Marcellus Elementary

April 11, 2020 Superintendent's Letter

From Our Superintendent Mrs. Pauley

As a result of the school closure and pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order 2020-35, face- to-face instruction is prohibited and Michigan school districts must design and implement a distance learning plan or “continuity of learning plan” for all students.  Marcellus Community Schools will roll out a distance learning plan that includes an online and a printed learning packet option.  Printed packets will be available on April 17 and online instruction will begin on April 20. Parents will receive a letter with details about each learning track this week.

Last week, school staff attempted to contact parents by phone to discuss the learning options and determine which learning track was best suited for their family circumstances.   While district staff was unable to connect with every family, a good portion of parents were reached.  Those parents who did not have contact with the school are asked to email the school principal or call the school and leave a message with updated contact information.   
 

Other important information:

  • Grab and Go breakfasts and lunches will continue on Tuesdays and Fridays, from 11:30a.m. until 12:30 p.m.  Parents may also pick up and drop off learning packets during those food distribution times.  While food distribution will conclude at 12:30 p.m., packet pick up will be available until 1:30 p.m.   Additionally, curbside drop boxes will be available for packet drop off on Tuesdays and Fridays, until 7:00 p.m.  Please note that the times, dates and procedures for this exchange of student work are subject to change based on safety recommendations and feedback from parents.
  • Seniors who were on track to graduate at the time of the closure will graduate. Any senior who was not on track to graduate will be provided an opportunity to complete coursework that will allow them to graduate.  
  • The district’s goal is to have a graduation ceremony when the situation allows.  At this time, district officials are unable to schedule a ceremony or determine what the ceremony might look like.
  • All state assessments have been suspended for this year.   This year’s juniors will take the SAT in the fall. 
  • The Read by Third Grade Law was supposed to be implemented this school year.  As a result of the school closure, the state has suspended the law.

It is understood that many students and families will face challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  District staff will do everything possible to ensure students and families are supported throughout the school closure.  As our teachers and staff work to implement this new system of learning, we ask for patience and understanding. We will get through this together.  Wildcat Strong!

April 5, 2020 COVID-19 Update - Alt. Learning Plan

COVID-19 Update, Alt. Learning Plan

April 5, 2020

 

On April 2, 2020, Governor Whitmer issued executive order No. 2020-35 which temporarily suspends in-person instruction of K-12 students.  The order is meant to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The executive order states, “given the virus’s aggressively persistent spread and potentially fatal consequences, in-person instruction in our schools is too dangerous to resume in the near future, and very likely for the remainder of the 2019- 2020 school year.  Nonetheless, as section 1 of article 8 of the Michigan Constitution provides, ‘schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.’  In the face of this pandemic, the education of K-12 students must continue as fully and effectively as possible. While there is no substitute for a highly trained and experienced teacher interacting with students in a classroom, schools must continue to provide, and students must continue to receive, the highest level of educational opportunities possible under the difficult circumstances now before us {emphasis added}.”

As a result of the executive order, schools are charged with designing and implementing an alternative learning plan to ensure students can meaningfully participate in distance or remote learning.   Prior to the roll out, the district must first complete a Continuity of Learning Application and submit it to the Lewis Cass Intermediate School District (LCISD) for approval.  Once approved, the LCISD will submit it to the state. 

The tentative plan is for the faculty and administration at Marcellus Community Schools to  deliver distance learning to students through two delivery methods- online or paper learning packets.

For those students who have adequate internet and device access, the instructional delivery mode will be online.  For those students who do not have adequate internet and/or device access, printed learning packets will be provided. The district’s goal is to implement this alternative learning plan on April 20. (However, the initial printed learning packet may be available as early as  April 17). In any event, the district will implement the plan by April 28 at the latest.

The district’s tentative plan for those who cannot participate in district provided online instruction is as follows.  Printed packets will be provided every Friday, from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., at the middle high school main entrance and at the Grab and Go meal distribution at the elementary school. Parents or students can also drop off completed work at the same time.  Teacher feedback and communication will be provided on the student’s completed work and will be available for pick up to the parent/ student in the same manner, the following week.  Essentially, those sites will provide avenues to exchange student assignments and completed work.  It is acceptable for parents to arrange for another person (neighbor, family member, friend) to pick up and return student work.  

The exchange process will be done in a drive-through fashion so as to promote social distancing.  Those who walk to the site will be asked to observe posted safety guidelines.   Please note that the times and days for this exchange of student work are subject to change based on safety and feedback from our stakeholders. 

For those students who have adequate access to the internet and devices, online instruction will be provided using applications such as Study Island (Edmentum) and Imagine Math. These applications were already being used at some Marcellus buildings and grade levels prior to the school closure.   Once the district’s learning plan has been approved, students and parents will be given instructions about how to access the programs.  As we move forward, it is possible that online applications and tools may evolve in order to improve delivery and instruction. 

In the event a student has access to adequate internet, but does not have a device, the parent should contact the school office or principal to arrange possible participation in a Chromebook loan program.  The loan program will require a parent to sign a Chromebook Loan Agreement.

To facilitate this new manner of teaching and learning, it is important that students and parents remain informed. The district will provide information or make announcements on our website, in students’ printed learning packet bags, and on facebook.  In addition, district staff will reach out through phone calls, email and, when needed, through the phone alert system and postal mail.   Parents and students can reach out to district staff through email, phone calls, or notes in the students’ learning packet bag.   The best way to reach teachers and administrators is through email.  However,  parents and students may call the school office, leave a message, and a staff member will return the call.   In addition, teachers will have dedicated remote “office hours” when parents/ students may call the school for assistance. Those hours will be publicized in the coming week(s).  In addition, in order to help with the learning plan, the district will redeploy support staff to work in various areas, including outreach and communication, online support services, copying, mailing, delivery, returning calls, and food distribution.

Given the challenges that many families and school staff are facing with this pandemic, we know this new mode of teaching and learning is a big ask. However, I have faith that Marcellus students, families, district teachers, and staff will persevere to provide the best education possible for our children.

On another note, school district employees are considered critical employees for the purposes of providing essential services such as delivery of the alternative learning plan and food distribution. Thus, some district staff will have to periodically report to the school buildings. Please understand that the school is committed to implementing and enforcing all the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) safety recommendations, not only for the safety of parents and students, but also for the safety of school faculty and staff who must report to the school.   For that reason, all school buildings will remain closed to the public.  Moreover, to the extent possible, faculty and staff will work from home.  That may mean that some two way communication could take a bit longer.  We ask for grace and patience as we strive to keep all of our school community safe. 

To the Class of 2020, I am sorry.  Your senior year will not include some of the traditional rite of passage events like prom, Senior Honors Night and spring sports. Know that the district will celebrate our graduating seniors in the best manner we can, dependent upon the circumstances at the time.   Decisions about what that graduation celebration may look like will be communicated as soon as they are made..  Several possibilities are being discussed, but all are dependent upon the length of the Stay Home, Stay Safe order, as well as any additional executive orders and CDC recommendations that may be issued.

Finally, I know how disappointed, frustrated, and sad most students, parents and others must be. I, along with all school employees and board members, share those same feelings.  We miss our kids, the hugs and high fives, the conversations and interactions, and the joy of seeing their faces each school day!    We will get through this together and look forward to the time when we can meet together again.  

Wildcat Strong!

April 3, 2020 VOICE Communication from Superintendent Pauley

VOICE Communication from Superintendent Pauley

April 3, 2020

 

Good Afternoon Marcellus Families,

As you likely know, the Governor suspended face-to-face instruction for the rest of the school year.  The Governor’s Executive Order also states that, “in the face of this pandemic, the education of K-12 students must continue as fully and effectively as possible.” 

Marcellus teachers and administrators are working on an alternative learning plan that considers the needs of all students.  More details will be forthcoming, but please know that two delivery modes are being developed including electronic for those who have adequate internet and device access, as well as printed learning packets. Given the limited internet access in our village, the primary delivery mode will likely be printed packets.

Our goal is to begin the alternative learning plan on April 20.  If you can, please periodically visit our website or facebook page for updates.  Please also be sure to check your mail for updates we may send via the postal service.

Thank you for your patience and support as we make the significant transition and know that the faculty and staff will do everything we can to support our students and families. 

Thank you and stay safe.

Note- a tentative timeline was included in an earlier written communication and is included on the district website.

April 2, 2020 Superintendent's COVID-19 Update

Superintendent's COVID-19 Update

April 2, 2020

Dear Wildcat Families:

Earlier today, Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order No. 2020-35 "Provision of K-12 education during the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.”    The order requires that “in person instruction for pupils in kindergarten through grade 12 is suspended for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.”  District leadership is in the process of reviewing the seventeen-page executive order and planning accordingly.   In the interim, please see below for information that may be helpful for parents and students. 

Please understand that this is a significant transition and the district understands the connectivity challenges that many Marcellus families face.  I am asking for patience and support as our exceptional faculty and staff work to transition from traditional face-to-face instruction to a delivery method that looks very different.   Please see below for a rough timeline. 

1.     March 16 to April 1:  Michigan schools closed and Marcellus, like most school districts, provided alternative learning or engagement opportunities for students via paper packets and other digital resources.  Please note that these processes are still in place and can be used until new opportunities are developed.

2.    April 2- the executive order was delivered to all school districts in Michigan.  We have been given a due date, April 28, for the start of new distance learning options.  Local Intermediate School Districts must approve the plans as the representatives of the State. 

3.   April 3- the state plans to deliver a template/format districts will use for the development of our learning plan.  (April 3 is the day spring break officially starts for Cass County schools)

4.    April 8- Intermediate School Districts will be ready to assist with the development and review of districts’ plans.

5.    April 13- 17- District staff has been working on distance learning options for our students in the event of an extended closure. Now that we have more information included in the executive order, staff will focus on additional planning and professional development to implement the new distance learning plan.  Our goal is to work with our exceptional staff in order to develop and deliver quality remote /distance learning (both digital and paper-pencil as needed)

6.    April 17- The target date for the district plan submission and approval.

7.    April 20- The target date to begin the new process for distance learning.  In the event that goal cannot be met, the plan will start no later than the required April 28 date.

Rest assured that our learning plan is being developed with two forms of delivery, including electronically for those who have access to adequate internet and devices, and printed learning packets for those who do not.  We are committed to meeting the needs of all students and will do everything we can to prevent our students from being negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We will continue to update the school community as the learning plan is developed.  We know there will be many questions and some hiccups as well.  However, know that Marcellus Community Schools is here to support our students and families.

Finally, we are committed to celebrating the accomplishments of our seniors.  At this time, we do not know what that celebration might look like or when it will take place.  However, we will solicit input from the Class of 2020 and their parents in the coming weeks. 

Please stay safe and follow the Center for Disease Control recommendations, including social distancing.  We will get through this together. 

Sincerely,
 

Nanette Pauley, Superintendent
Marcellus Community Schools

 

April 1, 2020 Grab-N-Go Changes

Marcellus Community Schools

CHANGES TO MEAL DISTRIBUTION

Effective Tuesday, April 7, 2020

 

WHERE:  Marcellus Elementary School ONLY

WHEN:  Tuesdays and Fridays- 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.
 

MEALS PROVIDED:
Tuesdays- three (3) days’ worth of lunch and breakfast will be provided         

Fridays- four (4) days’ worth of lunch and breakfast will be provided

Meals are available to anyone under 18 years of age.

Please contact the school if you need food assistance and CANNOT arrange for pick up.

March 29, 2020 Superintendent's Letter

From The Superintendent

March 29, 2020

Dear Wildcat Families:

We are all dealing with an unprecedented pandemic that has significantly altered our way of life.  The school closure and subsequent Stay Home, Stay Safe executive orders are just part of the stressful results of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Right now, I am certain that many parents and students have valid concerns about the virus, health and safety, household finances, school, and even what the future might hold.   I know we are all wondering when this pandemic will end and when we might be able to return to some degree of normalcy.   To say that this is a difficult time for all of us is a gross understatement.

I wish I could provide all the answers, but I cannot.  What I can do is answer as many school-related questions as I can.  Please understand that some questions simply cannot be answered until the state legislature acts and the Michigan Department of Education provides guidance.  Still, I want to provide as much information as possible, knowing that things can change in an instant.  A list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) is listed below. 
 On a more personal note, I hope that you are doing well and are finding ways to manage the situation in which we find ourselves.  The faculty and staff miss our kids and are thinking of our families everyday.  Please know that Marcellus Community Schools is here to support our families in whatever way we can.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to me at 269-646-7655 or via email at npauley@marcelluscs.org.  We are Wildcat Strong and we will get through this together.

Best wishes,

Superintendent Nanette Pauley
 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

On March 23, 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued the Stay Home, Stay Safe order for all citizens in the state of Michigan, with only essential or “critical infrastructure” personnel considered exceptions. That order, along with the school closure order, currently runs through April 13, 2020. 

 

  1. The current school closure runs through April 13. Could the school closure be extended beyond April 13, 2020?
    Yes.  While we are preparing to be back in session at the end of the current closure, we understand that the closure could likely be extended.  In addition, the Stay Home, Stay Safe order could also be extended.
     
  2. Will the missed school days be forgiven or will they need to be made up?  The State School Aid Act requires specific day and hour requirements for student attendance.  In the past, the legislature and/or MDE have granted limited waivers to provide some flexibility for schools.  As of today (March 29, 2020), schools have not been given an answer about whether or not the missed days will be forgiven.  For now, we do not know. 
     
  3. Will state testing (PSAT, SAT, MI-Access, WIDA, M-Step) be suspended or waived?
    The US Department of Education waived testing requirements for this school year.  The next step is for the Michigan legislature to amend the law requiring state testing. School districts are waiting for the Michigan Department of Education (MDE)  to notify us, but we fully expect there will be no state testing this school year.
     
  4. The third marking period was scheduled to end on March 27, 2020.  Will marking period grades/ report cards be issued?
    If school resumes on April 14, the marking period report cards will be issued approximately one week later.  This will allow returning students who may have been absent the week prior to the closure to turn in any missing work/ tests as arranged with their teacher(s).  If the closure is extended, the district is considering other options such as exempting missing assignments from the grade calculation or using a pass, fail  or incomplete mark.  Once we have a better idea of the length of the closure and whether we have to make up days, a more informed decision will be made. 
     
  5. Will seniors graduate on time?
    Please rest assured that we will move every mountain to ensure our seniors who are in good standing graduate on time!  On March 20, Governor Whitmore issued a press release indicating that she “will be working in the coming days to ensure our seniors graduate and that no child is held back as a result of our ability to provide face-to-face instruction during the COVID-19 school closure.” 
     
  6.  Are learning resources that the school or teachers posted online required?  Are the paper packets previously provided to students (in the first week of the closure) required?
    No.  The district provided student engagement opportunities as a service to help parents and students during this unprecedented and mandated closure.  We understand that many students and families have limited connectivity and may be dealing with other circumstances that limit engagement throughout the closure.  (The district is working on contingency plans to provide instruction in the event the closure is extended, dependent upon future guidance from MDE). 

 

  1. Will the Grab and Go Meal service continue if the school closure is extended beyond April 13?
    Yes.  Unless guidance to schools changes, it is expected that Grab and Go will continue throughout the closure.  Currently, Grab and Go meal distribution takes place at the middle high school entrance and at the old middle school, on Tuesdays and Fridays, from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.  
     
  2. Will Grab and Go Meal Service continue even during the previously scheduled Spring Break (April 3 and April 6-10). 
    Yes.  The district recognizes the financial impact the COVID-19 pandemic and the Stay Home,Stay Safe executive order may have on our students and families.  Thus, we have chosen to continue the meal service, even during the week of spring break. Distribution dates during spring break are April 3, April 7 and April 10.
     
  3. What is the Mobile Food Pantry? 
    School administration coordinated with the local food pantry for a Mobile Food Pantry to distribute food at the Marcellus Middle High School parking lot on April 1 and April 17, from 11:30 to 12:30 p.m.  The food distribution will be done in a drive through fashion and will be located in the parking lot near the soccer field.  The food distribution is open to all families in need of food assistance. 
     
  4. What about the year end events such as senior honors night and graduation?
    Currently, no changes to those events have been made.  However, it is possible the events will need to be postponed and/or the events may look different than they have in the past.  Much depends on the length of the school closure and if the Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order is extended.  Regardless of the situation, Marcellus Community Schools is dedicated to ensuring our seniors get the recognition and applause they deserve and have earned!  We will update you as we have more information.
     
  5. Kindergarten Round Up is currently scheduled for April 23, from 6:00 p.m to 7:00 p.m.  Will it still take place?
    It is currently still scheduled but will likely be postponed. An online registration may also be an option for some parents.  We will update you as soon as a decision is made.
     
  6. Will Prom, currently scheduled for April 25, still take place? 
    Currently, the prom has not been cancelled or postponed.  However, it is likely that the event will be postponed.  The health and safety of students, chaperones and staff are of paramount importance and will be the main consideration upon which any decisions will be made.  Much is dependent upon whether the school closure and /or the Stay Home Stay Safe mandate is extended.  We will update you as soon as decisions are made. 
     
  7. Are parents able to contact the school during the closure, even during the Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order?
    Yes.   During the Stay Home, Stay Home mandate, school offices are closed. During this time, the best way to contact school staff is via email.  Alternatively, parents may call their child’s school office, leave a message and someone will return the call.
     
  8. Are ALL events and activities in the district cancelled or postponed during the closure?
    With the exception of food distribution, yes.  This includes all district events as well as any events held in district buildings/ grounds by outside groups. 
     
  9. What if my student was scheduled to have an IEP meeting during this closure?  
    You should have been contacted by a principal or special education teacher to discuss options.  If you have not been in communication with the teacher or principal, please reach out to the building principal via email.  Alternatively, you may call the school office and someone will return your call. 
     
  10. What if my student missed a test or an assignment before the school closed? 
    If school resumes on April 14, students will have at least one week to work with their teacher(s) to complete any missing work (assigned prior to the closure).  In some cases, it’s possible that students may be exempted from specific assignments. In ALL cases, the district is committed to working with parents and students to ensure no student is penalized as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic closure. 
     

Please understand that the situation is fluid and things can change in an instant.  The answers provided in this FAQ document could change, depending on circumstances beyond our control. 

March 23, 2020 Grab-N-Go Meal Changes

Meal Service Update 

With the Governor’s recent Executive Order, Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Marcellus Community Schools has decided to make changes to the Grab-N-Go meal pick up service   Starting tomorrow, Tuesday, March 24, Grab-n-Go will be offered on Tuesdays and Fridays only. On Tuesdays, participants will receive meals for three days (Tuesday through Thursday).  On Friday, participants will receive meals for four days (Friday through Monday).  This change means parents or their designee will only need to arrange pick up twice per week.  For those folks who have already arranged for food delivery, know that deliveries will be made on Tuesdays and Fridays.  Questions about meal service can be emailed to school principals.  

March 23, 2020 COVID-19 Superintendent's Letter

From the Superintendent

On March 23, Governor Whitmer issued an “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order No. 2020-21, a temporary requirement to suspend activities that are not necessary to sustain or protect life.  Her order also extended the school closure through April 13. Barring any additional school closure extensions, Marcellus students should plan to return to school on Tuesday, April 14.  

During this extended closure, school offices will be closed, but Marcellus Community Schools will continue the Grab and Go meal service.   However, there are some significant changes to the process. 

Beginning Tuesday, March 24, Grab-n-Go will be offered on Tuesdays and Fridays only. On Tuesdays, participants will receive meals for three days (Tuesday throughThursday). On Friday, participants will receive meals for four days (Friday through Monday).  Grab and Go sites are Marcellus Middle/ High School and the old Marcellus Middle School. Pick up times are 11:30 until 12:30.   

This change means parents or their designee will only need to arrange pick up twice per week. For those who have already arranged for food delivery, know that deliveries will be made on Tuesdays and Fridays. Questions about meal service can be emailed to school principals.  

The Governor made it clear that school meal service is an essential service.  Governor Whitmer’s office issued the following statement from Press Secretary Tiffany Brown:

"Gov. Whitmer is committed to ensuring that Michigan students have access to the food they need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the governor's executive order, K-12 school food services are considered critical infrastructure and should continue. The governor deeply appreciates the vital work that our frontline school employees are doing every day to ensure that our kids have the food they need while the order is in effect."

The COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges for our school community, state and country.  There is no doubt that many people are feeling increased anxiety and stress. Despite the difficulties, I am heartened by the way our school family and community are supporting others during this trying time.  I appreciate the efforts of school staff, parents and volunteers who have stepped up to do all they can wherever they can. Special thanks to our food service staff who are making sure our children are fed, and to our custodians, maintenance and other support staff who are diligent in ensuring all school spaces are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.   

Please adhere to the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order.  My hope is that our state and country will get this through this pandemic faster. And we can get our kids back to school.   We are Wildcat Strong and we will get through this together!

March 23, 2020 Elementary School COVID-19 Update

Marcellus Elementary

March 23, 2020

Dear Marcellus Elementary Families,

As you may have already heard, Governor Whitmer has issued the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order that begins at midnight on March 24, 2020. This order is in place until at least April 13, 2020. During this time, Marcellus Community Schools will be offering only essential services. All buildings are closed and my staff, including myself, will not be onsite. The administration center will also be closed.

Marcellus Community Schools are committed to providing meals to our students during the closure. We are looking at alternatives as to how we distribute the meals currently. If a change were to occur, we would notify families via Bright Arrow, Facebook and our website. 

When the immediate closure of schools was announced, our teachers gathered materials to send home to our students so learning opportunities could continue at home. Other teachers gathered materials and packets were mailed to the house. At this time, we will not be sending more work home for students. This week we will publish a list of online resources that our students may utilize during this unprecedented break from school. If you do not have internet accessibility for your student to use, I highly encourage you to keep them reading. Reading is one skill that can always be developed, and it will help to prevent what we typically call “summer slide’.  

If you need assistance or have questions, please refer to our website http://www.marcelluscs.org.  The website includes a special tab that includes updates from the district regarding COVID-19.  I can also be reached via email at tracy.spaulding@marcelluscs.org.

Please keep your family safe and know that your extended family at Marcellus Elementary is thinking of you as we are apart.

Yours,

Mrs. Tracy Spaulding

March 16, 2020 Superintendent's Letter

Governor Whitmer mandated that all Michigan schools be closed from March 16 through April 5. Due to our already scheduled spring break, Marcellus Community Schools will be closed through April 10th. Marcellus Community Schools, along with all schools across the state, has been diligently working to find ways to best support our students and families during this unprecedented and extended school closure.

I recognize the hardship this closure places on families. Please know that school personnel will do all that we can to assist families while also honoring the Governor’s mandate and Centers for Disease Control’s recommendations. Please read the important information below.

First, because school personnel recognize the limited connectivity that some of our students face, we do not have the option to continue classes through an online forum. For that reason, students were asked to take their books and/ or learning packets home on Friday. For obvious reasons, teachers and principals highly encourage students to continue learning during this closure. In addition to the paper- pencil work, students who are fortunate enough to have adequate internet at home may choose to complete some online activities. However, despite some social media comments to the contrary, neither online work nor paper-pencil book work are required by the school. The school simply wants to provide options for parents and students.

Second, parents whose students were absent on Friday, March 13, can make arrangements to pick up books or other necessary supplies or materials by calling the school office. Parents whose children have medication at the school should contact the school or central office to pick up the medication that will be needed at home. Medications that are not needed can remain at school. Please know that school officials will make every effort to accommodate parents who are unable to get to the school during typical school office hours.

Third, beginning March 18, Marcellus Community Schools will offer “Grab and Go” meal service for ALL children under the age of eighteen and for special needs students up to age twenty-six. (This includes homeschoolers and preschool students). Meals will be available, on Monday through Friday, at the Marcellus Middle/ High School main entrance vestibule AND at the old Marcellus Middle School (also called the Marcellus Community Education Center) from 11:30a.m.- 12:30 p.m. The meal will include the day’s lunch and breakfast for the next morning. Parents and/ or students do not have to personally pick up the meal. In fact, a friend, neighbor or other designee can pick up the meals each day. Those families who cannot make arrangements to pick up meals should contact the school right away as we may be able to
arrange delivery.

Fourth, state testing is scheduled to begin the week of April 13. At this point, no changes to the state assessment schedule have been communicated to schools. Once the district learns of changes, if any, school personnel will communicate that to parents.

Finally, several have asked if school districts will be required to make up school days missed as a result of this closure. As of this writing, on March 15, 2020, the answer to that question is unclear. The legislature would need to approve a waiver to the currently required number of days and hours and districts are waiting for guidance from the Michigan Department of
Education. Again, Marcellus Community Schools will communicate any changes to parents as soon as possible.

Please understand that this Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation is evolving rapidly. Thus, it is possible that things could change very quickly. Parents are asked to update contact information with their student’s respective school office to ensure receipt of any phone alerts that the district may send out during the closure.

If parents or students have additional questions about the closure, student learning opportunities, meal service, or anything else, please contact me or an appropriate staff member via email. Alternatively, parents may also call the school or central office at the numbers listed below.
Elementary School- 269-646-9209
Middle/ High School- 269-646-5081
Volinia 269-646-9716
Central Office- 646-7655
If there is no answer, please leave a voicemail and your call will be returned.

One last important message to our school community- School personnel all learned of the extended school closure at the same time as parents and the rest of the public. I am extremely
proud of the manner in which school staff managed this situation. I want to thank the amazing administrators, faculty and staff at Marcellus Community Schools. On short notice, all stepped up to get things done and to communicate to parents and students as quickly and effectively as possible- all to benefit our kids. In addition, I cannot adequately express my gratitude to those parents who, unsolicited, offered their assistance to make copies and help get learning packets prepared for students. I am also thankful for the many parents and community members who offered assistance to the school, students and community. We appreciate your understanding and support during this trying time. It takes a village and we have a great one!

March 16, 2020 Meal Service During School Closure

Beginning March 18, Marcellus Community Schools will offer “Grab and Go” meal service for ALL children under the age of eighteen and for special needs students up to age twenty-six. (This includes homeschoolers and preschool students). Meals will be available at the Marcellus Middle/ High School main entrance vestibule AND at the old Marcellus Middle School (also called the Marcellus Community Education Center) from 11:30a.m.- 12:30 p.m.  The meal will include the day’s lunch and breakfast for the next morning.  Parents and/ or students do not have to personally pick up the meal.  In fact, a friend, neighbor or other designee can pick up the meals each day.   Those families who cannot make arrangements to pick up meals should contact the school right away as we may be able to arrange delivery.  If there is no answer, please leave a message and we will get back with you.

March 15, 2020 Elementary School Meal Service During School Closure Notice

Marcellus Community Schools will provide "Grab & Go" meals on weekdays, starting Wednesday, March 18th through April 3rd. The sack meal will include lunch for the day and breakfast for the next morning.
Students or parents may come to Marcellus Middle/High School at the main entrance to pick up the meal and take it home between 11:30-12:30 daily.
If you need food assistance, please do not hesitate to contact the elementary office at 269-646-9209, the middle/ high school office at 269-646-5081, or the Superintendent’s office at 269-646-7655. If there is no answer, please leave a message and someone will call you back. Alternatively, you may email any principal.

March 15, 2020 SMC Message for Dual-Enrolled Students

A message from SMC for our dual enrolled students

Southwestern Michigan College

March 15 at 12:11 PM · 

Reminder: SMC classes will continue tomorrow, Monday, March 16, via the Moodle online platform. A limited number of course sections may still need to meet temporarily in-person for lab work or exams, but social distancing precautions and extra disinfection protocols will be observed in those few situations. All students, including dual-enrolled high school students, will be responsible for monitoring their online courses, submitting coursework on time and adhering to any directions or deadlines from professors.

All three residence halls and college offices on both campuses will remain open during typical business hours. Visitors will not be permitted in the residence halls and the Student Activity Center will be closed until further notice. At this time, The Birdfeeder and the Zollar Cafe will be open during usual hours for additional food options.

The Carole A. Tate Teaching and Learning Center will be requiring appointments for online and in-person consultations during this period. Computer resources are available in the Learning Centers of both campuses. In addition, campus wi-fi speeds have been boosted to handle the expected increased usage.

We have the utmost confidence that by all working together, we can ensure safety and student success. We challenge our students to persevere in their studies, to utilize our extensive campus resources, to stay in contact with their professors and to “finish strong.” Our dedicated faculty and staff will give their very best effort to serve our students at this time.

For the latest updates, please visit swmich.edu/coronavirus.

March 15, 2020 Coronavirus Closure

Governor Whitmer mandated that all Michigan schools be closed from March 16 through April 5.    Due to our already scheduled spring break, Marcellus Community Schools will be closed through April 10th.  Marcellus Community Schools, along with all schools across the state, has been diligently working to find ways to best support our students and families during this unprecedented and extended school closure.   

I recognize the hardship this closure places on families.  Please know that school personnel will do all that we can to assist families while also honoring the Governor’s mandate and Centers for Disease Control’s recommendations.  Please read the important information below.

First, because school personnel recognize the limited connectivity that some of our students face, we do not have the option to continue classes through an online forum.  For that reason, students were asked to take their books and/ or learning packets home on Friday.   For obvious reasons, teachers and principals highly encourage students to continue learning during this closure.  In addition to the paper- pencil work, students who are fortunate enough to have adequate internet at home may choose to complete some online activities.   However, despite some social media comments to the contrary, neither online work nor paper-pencil book work are required by the school.  The school simply wants to provide options for parents and students.

Second, parents whose students were absent on Friday, March 13, can make arrangements to pick up books or other necessary supplies or materials by calling the school office.  Parents whose children have medication at the school should contact the school or central office to pick up the medication that will be needed at home.  Medications that are not needed can remain at school. Please know that school officials will make every effort to accommodate parents who are unable to get to the school during typical school office hours. 

Third, beginning March 18, Marcellus Community Schools will offer “Grab and Go” meal service for ALL children under the age of eighteen and for special needs students up to age twenty-six. (This includes homeschoolers and preschool students). Meals will be available, on Monday through Friday, at the Marcellus Middle/ High School main entrance vestibule AND at the old Marcellus Middle School (also called the Marcellus Community Education Center) from 11:30a.m.- 12:30 p.m.  The meal will include the day’s lunch and breakfast for the next morning.  Parents and/ or students do not have to personally pick up the meal.  In fact, a friend, neighbor or other designee can pick up the meals each day.   Those families who cannot make arrangements to pick up meals should contact the school right away as we may be able to arrange delivery.

Fourth, state testing is scheduled to begin the week of April 13.  At this point, no changes to the state assessment schedule have been communicated to schools.  Once the district learns of changes, if any, school personnel will communicate that to parents.

Finally, several have asked if school districts will be required to make up school days missed as a result of this closure.  As of this writing, on March 15, 2020, the answer to that question is unclear.  The legislature would need to approve a waiver to the currently required number of days and hours and districts are waiting for guidance from the Michigan Department of Education.  Again, Marcellus Community Schools will communicate any changes to parents as soon as possible.

Please understand that this Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation is evolving rapidly.  Thus, it is possible that things could change very quickly.  Parents are asked to update contact information with their student’s respective school office to ensure receipt of any phone alerts that the district may send out during the closure.

If parents or students have additional questions about the closure, student learning opportunities, meal service, or anything else, please contact me or an appropriate staff member via email.   Alternatively, parents may also call the school or central office at the numbers listed below.

Elementary School- 269-646-9209

Middle/ High School- 269-646-5081

Volinia 269-646-9716

Central Office- 646-7655

If there is no answer, please leave a voicemail and your call will be returned.

 

One last important message to our school community-   School personnel all learned of the extended school closure at the same time as parents and the rest of the public. I am extremely proud of the manner in which school staff managed this situation. I want to thank the amazing administrators, faculty and staff at Marcellus Community Schools. On short notice, all stepped up to get things done and to communicate to parents and students as quickly and effectively as possible- all to benefit our kids.  In addition, I cannot adequately express my gratitude to those parents who, unsolicited, offered their assistance to make copies and help get learning packets prepared for students.  I am also thankful for the many parents and community members who offered assistance to the school, students and community.  We appreciate your understanding and support during this trying time.   It takes a village and we have a great one! 

March 13, 2020 Superintendent's Letter

Important Information from Marcellus Community Schools

"Late last night, in order to slow the spread of COVID-19, Governor Whitmer announced that all Michigan schools will be closed beginning Monday, March 16 through April 5.

Again, Marcellus Community Schools will be closed from March 16 through April 5 due to COVID-19.

We understand the challenges this extended closure will have on students and families and our staff. Marcellus Community Schools will do what we can to help our community deal with this difficult situation.

Updates about this extended closure will be communicated as more information becomes available."

March 13, 2020 Middle/High School COVID-19 Notice

March 13, 2020 Marcellus Elementary COVID-19 Notice