COVID-19, flood disrupt curriculum for Midland Public Schools

In the city of Midland, Midland Public Schools is the only public school option for students within city limits. K-12 schools converted to online learning due to COVID-19, and the district devised a plan to move forward into the possibility of returning to in person classes. 

MPS Curriculum Specialist Steve Poole said that this change was sudden for the school, and they only were informed just when Gov. (Gretchen) Whitmer announced that schools were closed on March 12th.  Poole said they were talking about the possibility of going online, but did not have any concrete plans when the governor began this shutdown. This school systems, in midland, and nationwide, to have to adapt to what is being described as the new normal. 

“The first week of shutdown really allowed us to be prepared,” said Poole.  “There was a lot of communication at all levels at MPS. The principals worked with the curriculum office to establish the Continuity of Learning Plan. Teachers had to concentrate on essential standards that were needed for the rest of the semester.” 

Source: Midland Public Schools

The Continuity of Learning Plan released by MPS directly stated what was required of teachers to do for students to replace a normal class, and the policies MPS would use to finish out the year.  

According to the section of the document pertaining to high school classes, students had two classes a day, for around an hour each.  Teachers were able to schedule office hours at some point in the week to have meetings with students to discuss progress, and help them continue learning, according to the document.  Finally, the document states that final grading for the semester would be credit/no credit, instead of traditional grading. 

Source: Midland Public Schools

Students like Midland Dow High senior Aiden Moneypenny said students in the district faced a massive challenge when it came to finishing out the year.  Moneypenny said students really had to stay on top of new info relayed out by the administration in the week between classes being cancelled and online work beginning, so they could not miss out on work and risk not graduating. 

“The senior project is the biggest thing we do in second semester senior English,” said Moneypenny.  “For my class at least we were expected to still do some of it but the majority was canceled, which made our total assignments for English be very small.”

Moneypenny said MPS was eventually able to establish a system resembling some sense of normality.  While not perfect, they were able to get assignments out to all students, something that Poole was quite proud of.

Meridian Township looking for help cover flood insurance costs

By Lauren Captain
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

OKEMOS — With winter coming to a close, some Meridian Township residents are hoping that snow melting over frozen ground won’t lead to severe flooding. Okemos deals with this type of problem every year. “The most severe spots for flooding in our area are at the corners of Okemos Road and Grand River Avenue, and this is something we have to expect each year around this time as winter comes to a close,” said Younes Ishraidi, the Meridian Township Public Works and Engineering Office’s chief engineer. In hopes of helping people living in flood-prone areas, Meridian Township officials are working on a plan to help residents pay their flood insurance premiums. Township officials recently proposed a grant option idea on Feb. 2 at the township board meeting.

Spring could mean floods for Old Town

By Kasey Worst
Old Town Lansing Times staff writer

OLD TOWN LANSING­­ – As winter winds down and snow begins to melt, flooding along the Grand River may become an issue for Old Town. Potential to flood
Ronda Oberlin, emergency management specialist for the Lansing Office of Emergency Management, said the large amount of snow that built up over the winter makes the potential for a flood in the spring higher than it has been for quite a while. She also said the Grand River, which runs through Old Town, can flood very early in the spring. “We don’t know when the next melt is gonna happen,” Oberlin said. “And that’s when we’re gonna have problems–when the snow starts to melt. If it melts nice and slow than it won’t be as big of a problem as if it melts really quickly.”

Additionally, Oberlin said the City of Lansing cannot do much to prevent flooding.

Can rescue bill rescue bipartisanship?

By BECKY McKENDRY
Capital News Service
LANSING – During a spring flood this year in West Michigan, some people took to kayaks and jet skis – despite clear emergency warnings – and some ended up needing rescue. That sparked legislators to draft a bill calling for “grossly negligent” thrill seekers to repay their rescue costs. “The general response from the public and lawmakers was very positive,” said Rep. Brandon Dillon, D– Grand Rapids, the chief sponsor. “A lot of people support the common sense of it and we expect it to pass easily.”
But the bill may serve a higher purpose beyond punishing people who ignore safety warnings. “Clearly, perception of elected officials is not in high regard,” Dillon said.