By Jaleelah Ahmed
Dear students, families, and community members:
I hope you are enjoying another beautiful Michigan summer. As our partner in your child’s education, I wanted to send an update on our ongoing back-to-school preparations.
I know that many of our students and families would like to know what the plans for the fall of 2020 will look like so I will share what we have so far. We can’t thank you enough for your patience as we work to finalize the plans.
As you know, this is not a rushed process. We want to take our time and make sure that we are making decisions of the highest quality to ensure safety for our students and staff.
In the beginning of June stakeholders in the district met in the Budget Task Force Committee and the Restart Task Force Committee. While these stakeholders met, I was selected by the Michigan Department of Education to serve in the state level Urban Task Force.
Later in the month, on June 30th Governor Whiter introduced the MI Safe Schools- MI’s 2020-21 Return to school Roadmap. The districts are required to make 3 plans depending on the phase we are in. Currently, we are in Phase 4.
Plan 1- is for phases 1-3, all schools will be remote learning due to high risk.
Plan 2- is for phase 4 and schools have the option to have remote learning or face to face due to the medium risk.
Plan 3- is for phase 5 and 6 during the low risk.
In July we decided to join both the Budget task force and the Restart task force and continued to work towards the development of the plans with the guidelines from the roadmap.
Taking much into consideration the data on the health of racial and ethnic minority groups and vulnerable populations, the data indicates that there are disparities of illness and death among racial and ethnic minority groups. It is critical to focus on Michigan’s overall population that are vulnerable to COVID-19:
• 19.9% students who are African American
• 13.3% students with disabilities
• 48.7% students who are economically disadvantaged
• 6.2 % students who are English language learners
This is concerning for our district considering we have a large student population of students who are economically disadvantaged, and other subgroups that fall into this vulnerability.
While the Roadmaps gives districts flexibility in what is required, strongly recommended, and recommended, we felt that we want to ensure the highest level of safety and protection for our students and staff and defined some things that were only strongly recommended to be required.
On July 21st, the Restart Task Force Committee shared the three plans to the board to hear any feedback on the work in progress plans.
Hamtramck Public Schools will be providing a remote learning platform for the fall of 2020. We understand that we have students with IEPs, newcomer students, students that require various types of supports and with that understanding we will have our school buildings open to provide that support and services for our students.
We will have learning labs, students will have access to libraries, and other means of supports for our students that will be available. The details of how this will look will be shared in August.
We will abide by the guidelines and regulations. The purpose of keeping our buildings open will support the ventilation should we move from one phase to another, our buildings will be ready to welcome our students.
We are planning to identify all students new to the United States in less than one academic year and have them attend orientation sessions in August to get supports with the technology, remote learning information and resources to help them throughout the year. This will be extended to other special populations that will also need the support.
Athletic Director, Brian Anderson shares, “As per the MHSAA, all fall sports are presently planned to begin as scheduled. Since June 15th, the Hamtramck athletic teams have been training for their seasons while following rigorous safety and screening protocols. Hamtramck will continue to follow all guidelines and protocols set forward by the MHSAA during these constantly changing times and will continue to keep you updated as any new rules or changes take place.”
Our Executive Director of Student Achievement will share with you when the details of the remote learning instruction plans are finalized. I would like to commend our students, staff and families for your continuous support. We are in this together and now more than ever we need each other. Be safe and enjoy the rest of your summer break!
(Jaleelah Ahmed is the Superintendent of the Hamtramck Public School District.)
Posted July 31, 2020