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East Lansing Public School students will begin the academic year online

All athletics and extra-curricular activities are cancelled
East Lansing Public Schools (ELPS) -- The district's Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Plan follows protocols under the state's MI Safe Start Plan.
East Lansing Public Schools (ELPS) -- The district's Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Plan follows protocols under the state's MI Safe Start Plan.(ELPS)
Published: Aug. 20, 2020 at 8:25 PM EDT
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Students in East Lansing Public Schools will not be returning to the classroom on August 25th. Plans have been activated to start the school year remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic. The district also canceled all fall athletics and extra-curricular activities effective Saturday, August 15th.

In a joint statement issued Friday, August 14th, Superintendent Dori Leyko and Athletic Director Nikki Norris said: “This decision is heartbreaking for many of us who deeply understand the student needs that are met through athletics and extra-curricular activities, and we are committed to finding ways to support their social-emotional needs during this difficult time. We will reevaluate bringing students back on campus for conditioning, sectionals, etc. in mid-September as part of our Return to School plan.”

The district’s Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Plan follows protocols under the state’s MI Safe Start Plan. Students will be provided with I-pads and Chromebooks to learn at home. School employees and contractors will be allowed in school buildings to conduct basic operations, including remote live instruction. Those school employees must sign in and out of the building and complete a COVID-19 screening form. Hand sanitizer will be supplied at entrances.

All schools will monitor students’ mental health remotely. Teachers will conduct a mental health screening by using an age-appropriate “mood meter.” It allows students to self-report how they are feeling. If follow up is needed, teachers will talk to students and refer them to other professionals. The district’s Mental Health Advisory Committee will provide guidance.

The district will continue its weekly meal distribution plan for all eligible students and families until in-person instruction is resumed. Boxes containing a week’s worth of breakfasts and lunches (in addition to produce boxes and dairy boxes) are passed out each week at East Lansing High School. More than 300 meal boxes are delivered by food service staff and other staff volunteers.

East Lansing Public Schools has two brand new elementary buildings this fall, Pinecrest and Whitehills. Renovations are also underway on Red Cedar Elementary. Teachers at Pinecrest and Whitehills started preparing their classrooms the week of August 17th. The superintendent tells News 10, construction on the new buildings was shut down for 7 weeks because of the Governor’s Stay Home Stay Safe Order. However, crews were able to finish the projects in time to open this fall.

“This decision is heartbreaking for many of us who deeply understand the student needs that are met through athletics and extra-curricular activities, and we are committed to finding ways to support their social-emotional needs during this difficult time. We will reevaluate bringing students back on campus for conditioning, sectionals, etc. in mid-September as part of our Return to School plan.”

East Lansing Superintendent Dori Leyko and Athletic Director Nikki Norris

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