By Carol Stiffler

When school resumes on September 8, not all students will leave home. Some parents have already decided that the group setting isn’t safe, and their students will learn from home.

Other parents are stocking up on “cute” face masks and are planning to send their kids back to the building.

Local districts including Tahquamenon Area Schools, Engadine Consolidated Schools, and Three Lakes Academy worked together to draft similar plans. This will help cut down on students shifting between schools for the sole reason of finding a return-to-school plan that more closely aligns with the concerns of their family.

Parents at all three districts have been asked to indicate if they will send their students to school or not, but district officials say they can change their minds prior to the start of school. (TAS has a survey available for parents at, with results needed today, August 5.)

Tahquamenon students who learn from home will use an online curriculum developed by Accelerate Education. Engadine students will tune in to live classes taking place at their school to have as normal a learning experience as possible, Superintendent Josh Reed said.

“When distance learning kids tune in, they’re going to be tuning in for the lecture portion of the class, and tuning out to do individual work on their own,” Reed said.

Parents requesting distance learning in Engadine need to complete their request form, which is available on the district’s website, by August 17.

Three Lakes Academy announced their plan on Tuesday, with two instructional options, both taught by Three Lakes teachers. Online content will be Three Lakes Academy curriculum via Google Classroom and Accelerate Education.

At all three districts, parents who pick the at-home option must keep their children at home for at least the first quarter before moving back to school if desired. Children who are attending in person can move to online schooling at any time.

Also, students at both TAS and Engadine will be eligible for sports whether they are learning from school or at home.

If students do go to school, face masks won’t be optional. If the current Executive Order (2020-147) remains in place, face masks will remain mandatory indoors. If that order is discontinued, districts will make face masks mandatory in certain places, like buses and common areas, for younger students, and mandatory during class for older students.

The Tahquamenon Area Schools Board of Education will review the plan at its August 10 meeting. The Engadine Consolidated Schools Board of Education will review and approve their plan at their August 12 meeting. Three Lakes Academy will approve their plan at their August 7 meeting.

All these plans are being made with one caveat: Anything can change in the next month. The pandemic has not been predictable.