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Holland Public Schools says to prepare ‘for a return to remote learning’

The school is also unsure of how the state will classify closure days due to COVID-19 because they only have one snow day left.

HOLLAND, Michigan — In a letter to community members Monday, Holland Public Schools said students and parents need to prepare for a return to remote learning.

The announcement comes a week after positive COVID cases reached an all-time high in the district.

"Last week, between staff and students, we had 100 positive cases across the district," said Jason Craner, Marketing and Communications Director for Holland Public Schools. "That really stretches thin some of our buildings and classrooms."

The district said several classrooms have already had to close due to the high numbers, so they just want to make sure that school families are ready for that potential.

"So instead of surprising everyone, like with a snow day or a last minute closing," said Craner, "we just wanted to make sure that parents were ready for the possibility that we could happen to close for five to seven days because of high numbers of staff and students out because of COVID."

Craner said the district will be monitoring the numbers every day and hopefully they don't fall beneath the 75% student attendance threshold that is required by the state.

Craner also explained that they aren't sure yet how the state will classify closure days due to COVID-19. They haven't been told if these types of days will be considered forgivable or if they will count toward snow days. 

"We're already at five snow days this year," Craner said, "which means we only have one more day that we can take for those. So if COVID closes us down for a week or so, we're going to have to work with the state to figure out exactly how we're going to handle all of that."

School leaders said although this plan is in place, they are still doing everything they can do avoid having to go remote. 

"We know that remote learning is not great for our families," said Craner. "It's no one's first choice, however, if we know that we are going to be out for five to seven days, we would rather shift to that then completely stop all learning altogether during that time." 

"Our staff are running thin, our students are tired, and our parents are frustrated," he added, "so we are doing our best to make sure that students are in the buildings and that they're learning every day with with caring and compassionate and excited professionals in the classroom. That will always be the first choice."

With the possibility of returning to remote learning, the district provided the following information:

  • If classrooms or schools are closed, an announcement will be made by your teacher, principal, or the district through Remind.
  • If you anticipate needing childcare should schools need to close, please start making those plan now.
  • Should we be forced to close a classroom or an entire building, remote learning will continue on Google Classroom. HPS teachers have already been using Google Classroom to manage student instruction.
  • As we all know, remote learning is not ideal for most students. HPS teachers want your child to succeed and are here to help! Please stay connected with your child’s teachers. You can use Remind to ask questions and address concerns.
  • If schools are closed, please remind your child that participation in remote learning classes matters; attendance will be taken.
  • Please stay connected and informed. The HPS website is updated almost daily with new information about COVID-19 and about what is happening in our schools. Check the site frequently. Also, watch your phone or email accounts for messages from your school or teachers via Remind.

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