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APPLEGATE: One month until the first day of school for Niles students

The first day of school brings an unmatched level of excitement and anticipation every year. I always look forward to seeing students’ smiling faces as they get off the bus, eager to start the next step in their academic journey. With one month until students return to the classroom, Niles Community Schools has finalized a plan for the 2021-22 school year. Our goal is to help students return to a sense of normal, while continuing to prioritize safety and meet their academic, social and emotional needs.

The full Niles Community Schools 2021-22 school year plan can be found at NilesSchools.org. If transmission rates remain low in the county, masks and vaccines will be optional for students, teachers, staff and visitors. Athletics will be permitted with additional health and safety protocols in place. Our school community’s safety is our top priority, and we will continue to monitor and evaluate these protocols throughout the school year.

Once again, the district is working closely with the Berrien County Health Department and other education leaders in the area for back-to-school planning. This collaborative process has played a vital role in the district’s fight to provide high-quality education amid COVID-19, and the two parties will continue to share resources, align their actions and work together. We have also received feedback from students, families, teachers and staff, and we appreciate that the members of our school community are making their voices heard. As always, we value your feedback and encourage an open and respectful dialogue for any and all school matters.

Additionally, we recently appointed Mark Wortham as the president of the Niles Community Schools Board of Education. Mark and the Board are another invaluable resource to the district, empowering and guiding us for the 2021-22 school year and beyond.

Serving as the heart of our community, we plan to offer several key services to ensure student success, including our Virtual Viking program, social-emotional learning curriculum, and assistance for students who missed a significant number of days during the 2020-21 school year. We remain committed to providing a variety of options for our families to help meet the needs of all of our students.

Enrollment is currently open for all grades, and families interested in enrolling in Niles Community Schools can visit the district’s website – NilesSchools.org – for more information. We look forward to seeing our students and their families on Monday, Aug. 30 for our start of school Family Workshops prior to the first day of school on Tuesday, Aug. 31. Until then, enjoy the rest of summer vacation, and thank you for your ongoing support. Go Vikes!

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