Covid 19 Preparedness and Response Plan

Posted by Paul Shimmons on 7/2/2020

July 2nd, 2020

COVID 19 Preparedness and Response Plan

The Farwell Area Schools are using the Governor’s Return to Learn Plan as a starting point. We are working closely with our local Health Department, the CG-RESD, and the schools in our region to develop a plan that focuses on the safety of students and staff as our first priority. Education and Flexibility will also be key tenants to our plan. We hope to have our plan approved by our Board of Education and published by early August. I am attaching a link of a survey for parents, I welcome your input regarding your child’s education in the 2020-2021 school year

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Bond Update

The work on the Farwell Area Schools Bond Project continues despite the cancelation of in person instruction. Some projects like the boiler/heating/ventilation projects for all three schools are well ahead of schedule. The two new boilers in the elementary replace 11 boilers that were 32 years of age. The two new boilers in the high school replace 8 aged boilers. All of the piping and wiring for these system have been completed in the hallways. The new boilers are far more efficient and much easier to maintain and operate. The individual room unit ventilators are being replaced as they arrive. Due to COVID -19, we are experiencing some delays in their arrival.

Boiler ES Boiler HS

Our Administrative team and board committees have meet several times to review plans for secure entrances of all buildings, work that is planned for the summer of 2021. The roof projects for the high school and middle school are also started and progressing on schedule.

Construction1 Construction2

The project at our athletic complex that were scheduled for the summer of 2020 remain in question. Due to Michigan’s restrictive polices related to COVID-19, the contractors who were lined up to repair and resurface the track have moved on to projects in other states. This has moved our project that was scheduled for early May to the back of the list. We will know by early August if this project will be able to be done yet this summer.

Budget Uncertainty

The Farwell Area Schools continue to operate with major questions regarding our school funding. Although progress continues, it is slow and way overdue. The Leadership in Lansing is still wrestling with the funding for the 2019-2020 school year, while we are trying to determine our staffing needs for the 2020-2021 school year. Decisions that were made at the end of June could have and should have been made prior to the end of May.

Boards of Education are required to pass budgets by the end of June. The FAS BOE did this while they had many unknown details for the coming year. We are being told that the cost to educate a student in the new COVID-19 norm will increase by $500 per student / per year. Meanwhile, we are being told to anticipate funding cuts of $600 to $1000 per student for the 2020-2021 school year. The Farwell Area Schools were on track to end the 2019-2020 School year with a 10% fund balance prior to the COVID-19 Shutdown. We will continue to keep the focus on educating our students and providing them a safe and quality learning opportunity.

Schools can only make good plans if they have good facts on which to base these plans. We know the COVID-19 Pandemic will cause us to remain flexible on how we educate our students going forward. The unknowns of this virus do not excuse the leaders in Lansing and Washington from making budget decisions by the deadlines. Schools need answers regarding funding and pupil accounting. Without these details we cannot make good plans. Stakeholders of the Farwell Area Schools are encouraged to communicate your concerns to the leadership in Lansing and Washington. Schools and families need to make plans for the fall.