• Allegan County Area Technical & Education Center 

     

    November 18, 2020

    Dear ACATEC Parents and Guardians,

    The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services put into order the “Pause to Save Lives” requiring all 9-12 schools to participate in remote learning until December 8. Allegan County has a positivity rate that is amongst the highest in the state of Michigan. Due to these factors, the leadership team at AAESA, in collaboration with the Allegan Health Department, has recommended that the Allegan Tech Center reduce student density within the building.

    Last night the AAESA school board met and approved our reduced density plan. In order to reduce student and staff exposure the Allegan Tech Center plans to remain 100% virtual through January 15, 2021. Prior to January 15, the AAESA leadership team, along with the Allegan Health Department, will reassess if it is safe to return to our normal schedule of five days a week, 100% face-to-face. The two areas of consideration when making this difficult decision were the safety of our staff and students and creating a consistent mode of the delivery for instruction. I realize for most; this is not an ideal decision, as the basis for your child choosing the Tech Center was the unique hands-on training our programs offer. Please know this was heavily considered, but while dealing with a pandemic, safety at this time is our number one priority.

    I want to reiterate what our schedule is while we are in our remote instructional model. The remote schedule we have been following during our two week closure remains the same moving forward. Here is our remote schedule:

    Monday, Wednesday, and Friday – Teachers will be providing new instruction through their Learning Management Systems which could be Google Classroom, Schoology, or a Microsoft platform. It will be the expectation for your student to be in attendance during this new instruction and to work on any assignments given during these days. We will continue with the same schedule. If your student is an AM student, then during the AM session period they would need to be ready to be in attendance for a virtual platform. PM students will need to be in attendance for the PM session.

    Tuesday and Thursday – ACATEC instructors and paraprofessionals will be making individual contacts with your students either via phone call, email, text, or virtual platform to check on the progress of your student with the assignments that were given to them on the previous day. This will also be an opportunity for your child’s instructor to do individual instruction around post-secondary planning and/or mental health activities. It is the expectation for your student to communicate in return to their instructor within that same day so as to be recorded as being in “attendance” for those two days. Individual communication will take place during your child’s Tech Center session period timeframe. 

    The “Pause to Save Lives” order does allow us to keep the building open for students who need accessibility to adequate internet. The Allegan Tech Center will be open at certain times to provide this service. Here is the information for those who wish to take advantage of this option:

    • The building will be open Tuesday-Thursday from 8:00am to 10:30am and 5:00pm to 7:00pm.
    • Students will need to call the front office (269-512-7800) to schedule an appointment.
    • Students will be screened for COVID-19, social distancing will take effect, and masks will always be expected to be worn.
    • Students will only be in the designated room to use the internet. They will not be allowed to go to their respective program.
    • Deliveries have been made during our intermittent closure and we will continue to make deliveries for students who need the necessary materials to help them be successful during our remote schedule.

    Although no one chose the Tech Center to be a virtual, on-line student of the Tech Center, please understand that the expectations during our remote schedule is for your student to be engaged and to complete all assignments given to them by their program instructor. Our programs offer academic credit and it is important not to lose sight of achieving that credit. We do not want your student to be in jeopardy of having to recoup that credit in a different manner.

    I understand and feel your frustration as all of us at the Allegan Tech Center know this is not an ideal situation to providing the best educational experience for your student. I must be reminded that my frustration is with COVID-19 as it has put all of us in a situation we have never experienced in our lifetime. We will continue to give you and your child our best efforts to provide a quality education given our current circumstances.

    Thank you again for your continued support, patience, and grace as we navigate through this unprecedented time we are living in!

    Sincerely,

    Richard Okoniewski
    Director/Principal
    Allegan County Area Technical and Educational Center
    269-512-7805
    rich.okoniewski@alleganaesa.org