Michigan DNR updates opening dates and modifications for public outdoor recreation sites | Coronavirus

To help slow the spread of the coronavirus and carry out Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s extended “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order through May 15, the Department of Natural Resources has updated expected opening dates and available amenities at many of its public outdoor recreation sites and facilities.

Most state parks and recreation areas and state-managed trails and boating access sites remain open to provide local opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, but social distancing is key. Federal and state health officials consistently have said that keeping at least 6 feet away from those outside your household is vital to containing the virus spread.

Proposed facility reopening dates are based on the updated stay-at-home executive order that ends May 15 and are staggered to allow for proper preparation. Details on closures and changes in services, as well as frequently asked questions, are available on the DNR’s COVID-19 response webpage at Michigan.gov/DNR.

The changes and planned public opening dates include the following, but further changes to the EO could affect these plans:

Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division, said he and his staff are eager to welcome back campers and visitors, but proper safety precautions and maintenance work must happen first.

“We know millions of residents are eager to return to state parks and recreation areas, and we will be here to serve them and make their visits as enjoyable as possible, but we have to open the right way and be certain that facilities and sites are clean, safe and ready to accommodate everyone,” Olson said.

PREP TIME NEEDED TO GET FACILITIES READY

To prepare state-managed parks, trails and boating facilities, many important tasks must be completed once nonessential work is permitted. The department anticipates staff can start work May 15 once the stay-at-home order is lifted; prep work is expected to take roughly five weeks. Duties include:

  • Acquiring drinking water permits from county health departments.
  • Opening bathrooms.
  • Hiring and training seasonal staff.
  • Ensuring sanitation systems are running efficiently.
  • Making progress on infrastructure needs.
  • Other operational duties.

CAMPING, OVERNIGHT LODGING AND SHELTERS SET TO OPEN JUNE 22

Camping and overnight lodging reservations for dates between May 15 and June 21 have been canceled, but the following reimbursement options are available:

  • Request to change reservation dates to later in the season (pending availability within the reservation booking window) and earn a free night for that time period. No reservation fees or cancellation/modification fees will be charged. Reservation holders who want this option must contact the call center at 800-447-2757 by May 15 at 8 p.m.
  • Choose a full refund to automatically be applied to original payment method, including the reservation fee. Reservation holders DO NOT need to take any action; all remaining reservations will automatically be canceled after May 15, and an email will be sent when the refund is completed. No cancellation/modification fees will be charged.

In addition, reservation holders whose camping reservations for stays between March 23 and May 15 were canceled due to COVID-19 are eligible

Weymouth Public Schools cancel April vacation – News – Weymouth News

WEYMOUTH – School officials have officially canceled April school vacation.

Superintendent of Schools Jennifer Curtis-Whipple said the cancellation of the vacation would restore four school days.

“We changed the last day of school to June 19,” she said on Friday, April 10. “It was on June 20.”

The April vacation period, which is April 21-24, also includes Patriots Day, April 20, a state holiday.

Schools have not been in session since March 16 under emergency declarations issued by Gov. Charlie Baker and Weymouth Mayor Robert Hedlund.

Baker extended the date for schools to remain closed until May 4.

The emergency order exempts school districts from having to fulfill a state law that requires students to attend classes for 185 days.

Curtis-Whipple said administrators determined it would be better for students to complete academic lessons during the April vacation period because they are at home under Baker’s stay-at-home-advisory.

Teachers in all grades have prepared academic lessons for students, which they access by email, websites, and online-video-conference sessions.

“Some students can be given an activity without having to do anything electronically,” Curtis-Whipple said. “Not everybody has the capacity to do online learning.”

School officials recently distributed 600 Chromebooks to students who don’t have computers in their homes, according to Curtis-Whipple.

The school district has created 70 “professional learning communities,” which consist of academic instruction by electronic and non-electronic methods.

Curtis-Whipple said the schools have an optional learning structure for all students to receive instruction under the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s guidelines.

“It’s a suggested learning structure, but it is not mandatory,” she said.

Curtis-Whipple said the structured lesson pattern was created because some parents wanted their children to have a format to follow while completing their studies.

The academic work is intended to keep students engaged with learning. They won’t be graded during this period, according to school officials.

“We have also changed the grading period,” Curtis-Whipple said. “The third term will be extended until the end of the school year on June 19.”

Curtis-Whipple said the school district’s most important priority is to support the students’ social and emotional needs amid their concerns during the coronavirus pandemic.

The school district is also providing free bagged lunches at Seach Primary School and Abigail Adams Middle School from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on weekdays.

Some of the food available includes fresh vegetables, milk, whole grain muffins, and cheese sticks, according to Elizabeth Sauro, Weymouth Public Schools food services director.

All students are eligible to receive a free meal under the state and federal requirements of the program.

Curtis-Whipple said 15,000 lunches have been provided to students since the program began March 16.

Additional information about the school lunch program is available online at the school district website: weymouthschools.org.

Curtis-Whipple said the coronavirus pandemic is not delaying plans to construct modular classrooms at the primary schools to accommodate an influx of fifth-graders under a school redistricting plan that takes effect in September.

“The foundation work is being done behind Academy Avenue school

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