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APPLEGATE: Niles Community Schools thanks the community for its ongoing support

Around this time every year, we are all encouraged to reflect on what we are thankful for. While we always have an appreciation for our students, teachers, families and the community, 2020 has been a year unlike anything we have ever experienced, and our overwhelming sense of appreciation travels further and runs deeper than ever before.

On behalf of Niles Community Schools, I want to thank the community for its ongoing and outpouring support over the past eight months. As the heart of the community, our schools and the education that they offer have touched countless lives, and we can only do that with the help of everyone around us. Throughout this pandemic, the community has demonstrated patience and grace, donating necessary PPE materials and continuing to advocate for our students and teachers. In turn, we have been able to continue to offer the high-quality education that students and families have come to expect. We will uphold this commitment and remain thankful for the support that we have received.

We know that, traditionally, Thanksgiving is a time to gather together with loved ones, but the pandemic needs to be in the forefront of our mind in order for the community to stay safe and healthy. We encourage families to follow the recent order issued by Gov. Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, limiting indoor gatherings to two households and fewer than 10 people. With these precautions in mind, we will continue to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the community and save lives.

We know that these are unprecedented times, but by working together and maintaining safety protocols as a community, our schools will be able to continue to provide our K-8 students, teachers and families with a safe in-person learning environment and hopefully expedite the safe return to in-person instruction for our high school students.

Despite the increasing number of cases throughout Berrien County, we have not yet experienced outbreaks in our schools. That said, we are prepared for a shift to remote learning for all students should it become necessary.

Fortunately, our safety protocols are working, and we will continue to uphold these procedures. We encourage the community to do the same, which includes wearing masks, socially distancing and properly washing our hands. We will continue to work with the Berrien County Health Department, health professionals and area school districts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our schools.

As I think about the days, weeks and months that comprise this year, I think deeply about what it means to be a part of this community, and in turn, how the community has and continues to support Niles Community Schools. I am constantly reminded how lucky we are to live and work in a community that advocates for its schools as much as Niles does. To that end, we will not let you down. We will provide a safe and secure space for children to learn, play and grow – academically, socially and emotionally.

While it has been a tough year for all, we appreciate the ongoing support that we receive from our neighbors. Thank you for your commitment to Niles Community Schools and the children we are privileged to serve. I hope you and your loved ones have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

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