Traverse City News and Events

Superintendent Shares First Updates On 2020-21 TCAPS School Year, Survey

Aug. 3, 2020

In an email sent to Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) families and staff, Superintendent Dr. John VanWagoner shared an update on the district’s plans for the coming school year. While the letter did not include any concrete details about what the 2020-2021 academic year will look like, it did provide several hints for what parents, students, teachers, and other district stakeholders might expect going forward. The first official plans will be shared at the next school board meeting, which is scheduled for next week.

“I know many of you are anxious to know what is coming next,” VanWagoner wrote. “However, we are in a fluid situation and information is changing daily. My recommendation for the district’s 2020-2021 education plan, which identifies how the district will deliver instruction for each phase assigned by the Governor, will be presented at the August 10th Board of Education meeting for approval and then sent to the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District for submission to the state by August 15th. The plan will be available to families for review prior to Board approval and will be posted on the district’s website.”

VanWagoner added that TCAPS has waited until now to present its plan because a mid-August announcement date will reduce the likelihood of the district having to make “potentially multiple last minute changes” to the plan if COVID-19 trends in northern Michigan shift significantly.

As part of the email, the superintendent asked families to complete a new Parent Survey. The survey inquires about how parents would approach their child’s education if TCAPS were in an all-remote learning situation, if the district could deliver face-to-face instruction but had to require students to wear facemasks and follow other safety protocols at all times, and if a “hybrid” approach were necessary. The hybrid strategy, based on the survey, would involve three days of remote learning each week, along with two days of face-to-face coursework. Such a strategy would allow for staggered student schedules and would help keep building capacities at 50 percent. The survey also includes questions about school busing/transportation and TCAPS extended daycare options.

VanWagoner said that TCAPS would also be conducting internal surveys of staff “to gather their input and feedback.”

Other COVID-19 precautions and protections mentioned in VanWagoner’s email include “ensuring personal protective equipment (PPE) is available for students and staff, increasing already frequent cleanings, planning for social distancing in cafeterias and other common areas, and much more.”

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