Fitzgerald Public Schools food service department workers from Aramark prepare food at the Schofield Early Childhood Center. Breakfast includes a breakfast bar, fruit, juice and milk. The lunch bag contains a sandwich, carrots, fruit, juice and milk.

Fitzgerald Public Schools food service department workers from Aramark prepare food at the Schofield Early Childhood Center. Breakfast includes a breakfast bar, fruit, juice and milk. The lunch bag contains a sandwich, carrots, fruit, juice and milk.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Center Line, Warren and Sterling Heights schools try to adapt to three-week shutdown

By: Maria Allard | C&G Newspapers | Published March 20, 2020

  Volunteers at Fitzgerald High School get ready to distribute meals March 18.

Volunteers at Fitzgerald High School get ready to distribute meals March 18.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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CENTER LINE/WARREN/STERLING HEIGHTS — With Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s three-week mandatory shutdown of all Michigan schools from March 16 to April 5, educators, parents and students are doing what they can to adapt.

Students are not attending school in the wake of COVID-19, and all athletics, performances, clubs and school-sponsored activities have been canceled or postponed at this time. The required closure — which includes public, private and boarding schools — is expected to slow the spread of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus.

Many parents are working from home while their children do homework that teachers gave to them before the shutdown. Teachers also are supplying online educational lessons for their students as the weeks go by. Social media websites, such as Facebook, also have suggested online learning resources to keep children’s academics in check.

To keep families in the know during this time, school officials in Center Line, Fitzgerald, Van Dyke, Warren Woods and Warren Consolidated Schools are posting updates on their Facebook pages and websites about homework, online studies, food distribution to students in need and more.

Warren Consolidated Schools Superintendent Robert Livernois updated the district’s frequently asked questions on the WCS website March 18 with a follow-up robocall to parents.

“There are many questions we simply cannot answer, as we are under strict state control,” Livernois said. “Although this is a very uncertain time, I know that when this crisis ends, our schools will return to normal. Most important, we will get through this crisis and be stronger because of it. Please take care of yourselves, and I will keep you updated as necessary.”

According to the frequently asked questions page on www.wcs.k12.mi.us, spring break, from April 6 to 13, is expected to remain the same, which gives the district a tentative return date of April 14. The WCS website also has meal information for students.

Although school is not in session, custodians in WCS are performing deep cleaning in each school that includes disinfecting desktops, counters, tables, bathrooms, floors, kitchens, door handles, sink faucets, drinking fountains and light switches.

The same is happening in Van Dyke Public Schools. Custodial staff is disinfecting each building, and there have been limited employees going inside the schools.

“We want to do whatever we can do to keep our community safe,” VDPS Superintendent Piper Bognar said, and at the same time, the district still needs to be “able to serve our students. We’re concerned, obviously, about our families. I’m really concerned about our staff. We’re being very careful.”

Van Dyke teachers, for instance, have been assembling homework packets that can be picked up from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at Carlson Elementary School, McKinley Elementary School and Lincoln High School; or at 11 a.m. on the same days at the corner of Hupp and Peters avenues, at the Kennedy Early Childhood Center, or at the Success Academy parking lot on Timken Street.

Those sites, days and times are also where Van Dyke is providing breakfast and lunch meals for children 18 years and younger. The meals are “grab and go,” meaning the students pick them up and take them home. Meals will not be eaten on-site. Please be advised that these days and hours could change, so check the district’s Facebook page and website, www.vdps.net.

On March 17, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly officially extended the closure of K-12 schools for the duration of the 2019-20 school year in that state. According to a press release on the Kansas governor’s website at governor.kansas.gov, the decision was not an easy one to make and “came after close consultation with the education professionals who represent local school boards, school administrators and local teachers.”

Could Whitmer shut down the rest of the school year in Michigan?

“I can’t even begin to speculate,” Bognar said. “This is so unprecedented.”

Center Line Public Schools (www.clps.org) and Warren Woods Public Schools (www.warren woods.misd.net) are also providing meals to students in need during the shutdown. For more information, visit their websites.

Fitzgerald Public Schools food service program Aramark also is providing “grab and go” breakfast and lunch meals, packed separately and labeled, from 9 to 11 a.m. Mondays through Fridays at the Schofield Early Childhood Center, 21555 Warner Ave., and at Fitzgerald High School, 23200 Ryan Road. Children do not need to be present. In addition, on Fridays, children will receive breakfast and lunch items for Saturday and Sunday. Check www.fitz.k12.mi.us for any changes.

Fitzgerald alumni also are helping out by collecting food donations for the families of Fitzgerald. Donations will be accepted from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. March 25 and April 1 at Fitzgerald High School.

Nonperishable, packaged and unopened foods are needed, including crackers, cereal, canned goods, soups, macaroni and cheese, instant oatmeal, fruit juice, rice, pasta and much more. Bananas, apples, oranges and potatoes are also welcome.

Just drive up and drop off food at door No. 26 next to the main entrance. The door will be labeled “Fitzgerald Community Food Drive Donations,” and a team of people will be waiting.

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