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  • James Townsend

PPS Superintendent shares information on 2020-2021 school year planning

The following text is from an email sent by Portland Public Schools Superintendent William Heath to parents on June 17th.

The superintendents of the Ionia County Intermediate School District wish to collectively express appreciation for the efforts of our students, parents/guardians, teachers, support staff, administrators, and community for adapting this spring to the change to remote instruction and learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We recognize this shift has not been without challenges, and we thank you for working together to overcome them in this time of great uncertainty.

Throughout this pandemic, our primary concern has been the health and wellbeing of our students, staff, and communities. We hope you are well and will remain so, both physically and mentally.

As we have reached the end of the 2019-2020 school year, we know many of you are wondering about the 2020-2021 school year. We too have read the stories about how other states and even some school districts in Michigan are planning to conduct school next year. While we recognize the need to plan for a variety of possibilities, the reality is we simply don’t know what things will look like in August at this point. This will be more clear once we receive new directives from Governor Whitmer and the Governor’s Return to School Advisory Council.

For this reason, we are actively examining possible scenarios for school next year. These include:

  1. In-person, face-to-face instruction with proper precautions and safety measures;

  2. Remote/distance learning using technology and other means;

  3. A combination of in-person, face-to-face instruction, and remote/distance learning.

To the extent that remote/distance learning continues to be a necessary part of the instructional delivery model, we anticipate a more rigorous experience with student participation, engagement, and assessment expectations more closely resembling that of the traditional school experience.

As a group, we remain actively engaged in planning now and throughout the summer with additional efforts forthcoming within individual school districts. We have been and will continue to work with the Ionia County Health Department as we rely on their guidance and direction along with continually updated guidance from both the State of Michigan and the Federal Government.

Portland Public Schools, along with the Ionia County Intermediate School District, is committed to transparency in planning while also exercising a degree of caution, knowing that all plans for the 2020-2021 school year are subject to the actions of government officials and the changing impacts of COVID-19. We will continue to provide additional information to you as plans are developed.


William Heath


Portland Public Schools

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