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Tecumseh students begin distance learning

Elisabeth Slay | @ElisabethSlay

Due to COVID-19 concerns, schools across the state have started their distance learning planning, including the students and teachers of Tecumseh Public Schools who officially began their last nine weeks of the year Monday, April 6.

According to Superintendent Tom Wilsie, all 2,105 students in the district will have access to various education tools based on their grade level and the distance learning program will provide several learning opportunities until the end of the school year, which is May 15.

"It's going to be delivered in several different ways depending on the age group. Our early childhood will look different than our high school," Wilsie said. "All (teachers and principals) have put together a package that is on our website."

Wilsie said students and parents can find all the necessary links and information they need under the "Distance Learning Center" tab on the district's website.

"Under that it will provide information (such as) the process of checking out a Chromebook if you need that, delivery of paper pencil packets if that's what you need as well as general lessons that will be done each week," Wilsie said.

Wilsie said teachers and students will be using a variety of technology including apps, Google Classroom, Zoom and other applications used to communicate with other people.

"We've got a lot of things going. That's all up in order. We're excited to see the response on that and hopefully as we move forward we'll continue to make adjustments that fit what our needs are and hopefully continue to grow what we're offering on that distance learning center," Wilsie said.

The superintendent explained students will still be getting their required courses to graduate and all state testing has been canceled for the year.

In addition to online resources, Wilsie said the district will also be providing paper packets of work for those students who may not have easy access to online resources.

"Our teachers have put together paper pencil packets. They'll be sent home every Monday," Wilsie said. "They'll be delivered through our bus routes or they can be picked up from Cross Timbers Elementary."

Wilsie explained the packets are being distributed the same way meals are to students through bus routes and a window pick up at Cross Roads Elementary.

"We'll add to that as the need arises if parents have a need...We'll update that and make changes along the way as well," Wilsie said.

The district, Wilsie said, hopes parents will remain involved with their students' distance learning and help them as much as they can.

"I think it will add to the success of the program if our parents are involved and what we would encourage them to do is talk to their child about the lessons and participate with them," Wilsie said.

The superintendent said though there may be some adjustments needed to the program in the beginning, as time goes on he's optimistic the students, teachers and community can adapt accordingly to this new way of education.

"I think what we'll find is our kids may be a head of what we may think from the beginning because technology things do not scare them," Wilsie said. "We'll have a few hiccups...but our teachers and principals have worked (hard). I think there will be some things we can learn from this when we come back to our regular classroom."

Wilsie said at this time the district is discussing its plans for summer school and plan to have their usual program available but will know more as it gets closer.

Check back for updates.