SJPS outlines school opening plans

Late last week St. Johns Public Schools Superintendent Mark Palmer provided a preliminary outline of plans for opening schools.

“As you can imagine,” he wrote, “Any plan may change depending on the status of the pandemic and directives we receive from the State of Michigan.

“We are preparing for face-to-face instruction within our school buildings. For families not comfortable sending students back to school, we will offer an online instruction option. Our goal is to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for all students and staff. ”

Face-to-face, in the building instruction: SJPS will follow all safety requirements set forth by the state as outlined in Michigan’s 2020-21 Return to School Roadmap.

– Facial coverings will be required for staff and students in grades K-12 while at school. Those who cannot medically tolerate a mask will not be required to do so. There will be opportunities for “mask breaks” at all levels, including while eating meals and at times when students and staff are socially distanced appropriately. The district has ordered two reusable masks for every student and staff person. We will provide disposable masks when needed.
– Hand washing will be reinforced and scheduled for every 2-3 hours. Hand sanitizer dispensers will be placed in every bus and classroom as well as common areas throughout the buildings.
– Social distancing will be practiced, when feasible.
– Frequently touched surfaces such as light switches, door handles, and bathrooms will undergo cleaning at least every four hours. Student desks will be wiped down after every class period.
– Adult guests/visitors to the school will be restricted.
– Staff and students will be expected to conduct daily self-examinations for COVID-19 symptoms before coming to school.
– Sharing of materials and resources will be limited. Every student will be assigned a Chromebook to use for the school year. In grades 6 through 12, a Chromebook will be assigned for the student to take home and carry with them on a daily basis much like a textbook. Elementary students will keep their assigned Chromebook in the classroom. In the event school must close, students will take their Chromebook home for at-home instructional purposes.
– We are working in coordination with the Mid-Michigan Health Department to establish protocol for action if someone in our facilities tests positive for COVID 19.

Online Instruction Option:

– We currently have a team of teachers and administrators working to develop various ways for online instruction. This may vary based on grade level.
– An internet connection will be required for each student.
– The online instruction will be more rigorous and robust than what was expected last spring.
– Students enrolled in online instruction will have similar accountability as expected in face-to-face instruction.
– Student work will receive “letter grades” as opposed to pass/fail grading used in the spring.
– Students choosing online instruction will be expected to remain online for the entire trimester.

“There are still many details to be determined, however, we thought it important to inform our families on what to expect from SJPS as the school year draws near,” Palmer concluded. “We are excited to get back to educating the young people of our community!”

Graduation, 2020
by Maralyn Fink

I attended the Class of 2020 Graduation at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Football Field. It was a warm afternoon, but excitement was in the air.

Congratulations to the St Johns High School Graduation Class of 2020 and best wishes on your next adventure!


Strive Academy will host their graduation on Monday, August 3 at 6 p.m. on the football field. In case of rain the event will be held in the high school gymnasium.

Update: St. Johns Concert in the Park series temporarily closed down 

With the new state guidelines that went into effect on Friday July, 31 a decision was made to temporarily close down our popular Concert in the Park series here in St. Johns.

They have been able to safely host 250 people over the past 5 weeks and don’t see how they can cut the attendance level down to just 100 people.

They are therefore canceling concerts for the next 3 weeks on August 5, 12 and 19, hopefully opening again on August 26, extending the series into September this year.

Please continue to check the William E. Tennant Performance Shell FaceBook Page, the Clinton County Arts Council and City of St. Johns websites for updated information.

Concert in the Park is sponsored by the Clinton County Arts Council and the City of St. Johns. The Clinton County Arts Council receives support from the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Chamber’s annual Golf Scramble is August 26

The Chamber of Commerce annual Golf Scramble will be held on Wednesday, August 26 at the Emerald Golf Course in St. Johns.

The 4-person scramble tees off at 8:30 a.m. and the cost is $290 per team. You do not have to be from a business or a member of the Chamber to have a team.

Email the chamber at or call 989-224-7248 and leave your name and address and a registration form will be mailed or emailed to you.

Stuff the Bus at Kroger August 5

Please donate school supplies for any age child when the Dean Transportation bus will be located in the Kroger parking lot on Wednesday, August 5 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

All donations go to Clinton County Project Connect. If you would like to donate but are unable to attend the event please contact the office 989-224-1010.

This year Project Connect is going to look different. This year’s Project Connect (back to school event) will be a road tour.

The goal is always to help the community as much as possible, but this year they also need to make sure they do everything they can to keep everyone healthy.

Due to Covid-19 organizers are breaking up the large in-person event into several smaller drive-up events.

The big change for Project Connect this year is that they are asking people to please pre-register for Project Connect. They need as many people who plan to attend to register ahead of time. This is so that they can pre-package the items for participants, know what to purchase, and what to pack to bring to our remote locations.

Please pre-register online or by phone 989-224-0328 or 517-641-5167 to ensure the sites are well-stocked. Registration Required by July 31

Open to All Clinton County Residents – Pick the location that fits your schedule.

St. Johns – Beacon of Hope Thursday, August 20, 9-11 AM

Bath – Bath Middle School Tuesday, August 11, 9-11 AM
Elsie – Ovid Elsie High School Thursday, August 13, 9-11 AM
Maple Rapids—Community Ball Field Tuesday, August 18, 6-8 PM

I move for HAL coming up August 22

On Saturday, August 22 The Emerald Golf Course will will be the venue for the annual I move for HAL fundraiser.

The schedule includes:

5k Run/Walk at 8:00 a.m.
Golf Outing, 4 Person Scramble at 12:00 noon
Food and Entertainment beginning at 5:00 p.m.
– Appetizers
– Dinner
– Luau

The Emerald is located at 2300 W Maple Rapids Road north of Saint Johns. For more information call 989-224-6287.