TAWAS CITY – A virtual special meeting of the Tawas Area School (TAS) Board of Education was held on April 6. The remote nature of the meeting was made necessary by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The primary purpose of the meeting was to discuss the district’s Continuity of Learning and COVID-19 Educational Response Plan mandated by Whitmer’s executive order which suspended in-person K-12 instruction for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.

According to the minutes of the meeting, Supt. John Klinger informed the board that the plan must be approved by the local ISD (intermediate school district)  and be in place no later than April 28. A template to create the plan has been provided by the ISD. Klinger said that he would seek input from the board, administrators, and teachers in the process, and that he is also working with the special education director at Iosco Regional Educational Service Agency.

Klinger said that the district is “in the process of getting department feedback and looking into project based learning and assessments.” Virtual staff meetings will continue to be held as the planning continues. Klinger also said that the district is attempting to determine how many students do not have internet access or need a device to work remotely. 

In response to a question from Trustee Greg VanderVeen, Klinger said that he hopes to have the plan completed for ISD review and approval by April 20.

Klinger reported that maintenance staff are collecting items from lockers to arrange for their return to students.

VanderVeen also asked about graduations and grade advancements. Klinger replied that students who were on track to graduate when school was suspended in March would likely graduate. Those who were not on track may not graduate, but if they were “on the bubble,” they will be encouraged to do makeup work and redo assignments, and the school will assist them as much as possible. Klinger also said that most students will be moved to the next grade level. Graduation ceremonies may need to be redesigned to accommodate social distancing regulations.

According to the district’s website, the regularly scheduled school board meeting on April 13 has been cancelled.