Readers’ Voice

Dear local theater fans,
   It is with a bit of sadness that I have to report to you that The Paw Paw Village Players’ production of Anne of Green Gables is being postponed.
   The COVID-19 Coronavirus issue is a very real threat; and whether you buy all the media hype or not, our leadership team has decided that the health and well-being of you, our patrons, as well as our cast and crew are far too important to take any chances.
   Once the crisis has passed, possibly in just a few weeks, we will pass the word of the rescheduled production. If you have purchased tickets via PayPal, you will be receiving a refund.
   The Village Players have been providing quality entertainment to Southwest Michigan for more than 50 years and it is our hope and desire to continue for many years to come. We appreciate your patience and look forward to seeing you in the future, either on our stage or in our audience.
   Thank you for your support,
   Don Stine
   PPVP President

•••

Dear Editor,
   Some of us so-called “old timers” still love our school, Paw Paw High. We spent the best time of our youth there. It kind of hurts us to see this “slogan” problem. I think if it should come down to a vote, in all due fairness, have all Paw Paw High graduates who are still alive - young and old - vote on the matter.
   We are the Paw Paw High School alumni now and still proud of our school, and always will be! Paw Paw is just too nice a town to let something like this scandalize our legacy.
   “We are Paw Paw...
    Mighty, mighty Paw Paw!”
   School pride for our students.
   With all respect,
   Henry R. Franken
   1963 PPHS graduate
   Almena Township

•••

Community Partners,
   As we are sure many of you have heard, read or watched,  Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order, directing all Michigan businesses and operations to temporarily suspend in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life.
   The order also directs Michiganders to stay in their homes unless they’re a part of that critical infrastructure workforce, engaged in an outdoor activity, or performing tasks necessary to the health and safety of themselves or their family, like going to the hospital or grocery store.
   Effective at 12:01 a.m. on March 24, 2020, for at least the next three weeks, individuals may only leave their home or place of residence under very limited circumstances, and they must adhere to social distancing measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when they do so, including remaining at least six feet from people from outside the individual’s household to the extent feasible under the circumstances.
   As your local health department, we want to emphasize the urgency for everyone to band together to collectively overcome the COVID-19 pandemic. These measures are aggressive but, if followed, are temporary. It is imperative that we each follow the strict shelter-in-place guidelines.
   • Consider consolidating shopping trips and trips to other essential services with family members in your household or assisting the elderly and other vulnerable family, friends, or neighbors to pick up any of their needs. If you are in a vulnerable population, contact friends, family, or others you know who can provide support. They are permitted to pick up any of your needs.
   • Do not visit family or friends if there is no urgent need.
   • Reduce the time you are around others outside the home when using essential services, even when at least six feet away.
   • Do not go to the emergency room of a hospital unless you are having an actual emergency. If you suspect you may have COVID-19 follow the guidelines on our website, at www.vbcassdhd.org/covid-19.
   • Stay put until the executive order is removed.
   At VBCDHD, we have instituted emergency services only. Patrons who need emergency services can contact the health department at 269-621-3143 and follow the prompts. We are accepting emergency dental appointments by phone consult.
   Public health employees will abide by the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” Executive Order, utilizing only designated critical employees. We are working with Emergency Management to ensure emergency medical supplies are continuing to arrive and be designated appropriately.
   A reminder that businesses should follow the CDC guidance for keeping employees safe. Visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/busine... 
Other helpful links:
   www.vbcassdhd.org/covid-19
   www.michigan.gov/coronavirus
   www.cdc.gov/coronavirus

   Thank you,
   Van Buren/Cass Health Department

•••

Dear Paw Paw Families,
   The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) released a Memorandum  addressing virtual learning during the state’s mandated school closure. This memo has caused some concern among some students, staff members, and parents. I’m writing to try to provide some clarification regarding MDE’s memo and let you know that I don’t think that there is cause for concern at this time.
   Michigan schools are required to be in session for 180 days per year in order to receive full funding from the state. In other words, 180 days of instruction are required. At the beginning of this school year, we had 180 days of school scheduled for the year. Typically, we need to cancel at least a few school days each year, often due to heavy snow and/or poor driving conditions. The state forgives up to 6 of these “snow days” each year, meaning that we only need to begin making up snow days if we have 7 or more.
   Currently, all schools in Michigan are under a mandated closure until April 5. The MDE memo is meant to provide clarification that during a mandated closure, no public schools can count days as instructional days. Even online schools cannot count these days during the closure as days of instruction. So, while Paw Paw schools is providing our students with educational activities during this closure to keep students engaged and learning, the closure days are treated just like snow days. . . they are not counted towards our 180 days of instruction.
   So, how many, if any, of these closure days will we need to make up over the summer? This question has not been answered yet. Our state legislators are going to be deliberating on this topic in the coming weeks. They will be considering an amendment to the “School Aid Supplemental” bill (SB373), addressing the forgiveness of instructional days for schools. I fully anticipate that our state legislators will take action and amend this bill, but there’s no indication as to when that might happen or how they will address the forgiveness of days.
   I have made contact with our state legislators, encouraging them to assure that schools are forgiven the days of mandated closure. While I hope that they act quickly on this because it is very challenging operating in a state of uncertainty, I understand that these are unprecedented times that require us to remain patient and understanding as we navigate unchartered territory.
   I hope this information is helpful in providing more clarity regarding the memo released by MDE.
   Sincerely,
   Rick Reo
   Superintendent
   Paw Paw Public Schools

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The Courier-Leader & Paw Paw Flashes

The Courier-Leader & Paw Paw Flashes
32280 E. Red Arrow Hwy. • P.O. Box 129
Paw Paw, MI 49079
(269) 657-5080

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