TCAPS Safe Start Plan

TCAPS Health & Safety Protocols Video

MDHHS School Outbreak Reporting

In its September 14th press release, the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) announced it will begin reporting outbreak information by school building. Data will be collected from 45 local health departments across the state weekly. An outbreak is defined as two or more cases with a link by place and time indicating a shared exposure outside of a household. 

The information will be posted on External LinkMichigan's Coronavirus website each Monday at 3 p.m., and will include K-12, college and university school name, address, number of cases and if the cases involved staff, students or both. Students or staff exposed to COVID-19 outside the school building and are not thought to have spread the virus in the school due to quarantine or self-isolation are not included in the data. PDF DocumentView full MDHHS press release.

TCAPS Communications Regarding COVID-19 Cases

Whenever the district receives notification of a school-related confirmed case of COVID-19 in a TCAPS student or staff member, we will make every attempt to be as transparent as possible. Due to confidentiality laws and policies, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, we will generally not be able to provide specific information regarding any particular case.

Please know that you will be contacted directly by the Grand Traverse County Health Department if your child is a close contact with someone in the school setting who tested  positive for COVID-19. The Health Department will advise you on what steps to take. If your family is not contacted by the Health Department, that means your child was not identified as a close contact of the person who tested positive.

As with other communicable diseases such as pertussis, whooping cough, etc., and consistent with confidentiality laws and rules, the school district will promptly inform staff and families of any COVID-19 positive cases to which they or their student may have been exposed.

Given the size of the district, communications will go out at the specific building or program level. However, all district COVID-19 communications will be posted and publicly available on this webpage. 

TCAPS COVID-19 Communications

Sept. 4: Back to School Message

September 4, 2020 - Back to School Message

TCAPS Families and Staff, 

When I began writing this letter, two words that are a well known part of U.S. Marine training kept popping into my head: “Adapt and Overcome.” In my brief time with TCAPS, I have seen incredible work being done over countless hours on behalf of your children. TCAPS truly lives up to its reputation of excellence across the state and staff is working around the clock to prepare to welcome you, our students and families, to the 2020-21 academic year. I am so proud to be part of this talented, hard working team, and I am proud to have joined such a welcoming community that values education and cares about its schools.

Here is how I see the idea of adapting and overcoming relating to our safe return to school: 

A - Acceptance - This is the hand we were dealt, so we must rise up, problem-solve, and prepare to deliver.

D - Delivery - Our 100% highly qualified teaching staff are ready to deliver education to our students. 

A - Affirmation - We know this will be a fluid and constantly changing time and we will constantly review what we are doing and make any necessary adjustments along the way. 

P - Patience - Throughout this challenging time, we must each extend kindness and empathy to one another and exercise patience. The bottom line is our staff wants what is best for your student and nothing less. 

T - Together - Thank you for remaining with us. Together, we can do this.

As we previously announced, TCAPS will begin the academic year on Tuesday, September 8, 2020, with remote instruction. In a very short amount of time, this incredibly dedicated and hard working staff has definitely ADAPTed. They have come up with different options for learning designed to meet the needs of your family - all of which will offer personal attention to your student; whether face-to-face, UpNorth Virtual Live, or UpNorth Virtual On Demand. 

Most importantly, our staff and community clearly have a can-do attitude to OVERCOME the challenges. Together, we will get the job of teaching our children done with the compassion and attention they deserve. I encourage you to visit the website for additional information and updates. I also encourage you to stay tuned to messages and information coming from your child’s school.   

As we head into the Labor Day weekend, I want to thank you for trusting in TCAPS to not only provide your students with the high-quality education they deserve, but to also do so in an unprecedented time of change. To the many members of our staff who have worked so hard over these past months to provide these opportunities, thank you. Our students’ health and well-being will always be at the forefront of our decision-making.

No matter which educational option your family chose this year, we are committed to making this a positive and successful year of learning for your child. While this year will inevitably bring with it some changes to our normal routines and challenges we will have to face, we know that with our parents, our families, and our community as our partners, we can use this year to learn, grow, and succeed together.

As an additional resource, please find 2020-2021 Safe Start At-A-Glance information:

Wishing you a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend.


Dr. John VanWagoner
Superintendent, Traverse City Area Public Schools

Sept. 8-18: Free Meal Service Available

On August 31, 2020, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it is extending a suite of nationwide waivers through the end of 2020, or until funding runs out. This will allow TCAPS to offer breakfast and lunch at no cost. Free “Packaged to go” breakfast and lunch will be offered to all children age 18 or under (or students with disabilities under age 26). Weekend meals will also be available. 

View district menus here.

Remote Learning or UpNorth Virtual

  • During remote learning September 8-18, all buildings will have breakfast and lunch available for pickup from 7:00 A.M. to 8:00 A.M.  
  • Meals will be handed out Monday through Friday; weekend meals will be handed out with Friday’s meals. 
  • Parents can select what school they would like to pick up the meals from (does not have to be the home school).
  • The person picking up the meals should use the designated entrance and they will receive the pre-packaged meals.

Google DocClick here for meal delivery locations.

Aug. 24: TCAPS  Safe Start Plan Summary

August 24, 2020 - TCAPS  Safe Start Plan Summary

TCAPS Families, 

Tonight, the district presented a summary of the Google SlideTCAPS Safe Start Plan to the Board of Education, which is shared with families at Please also find a short Video Documentvideo highlighting some of the safety procedures for the 2020-2021 school year. We hope you will find the summary presentation answers many questions about what the first two weeks of school will look like for those enrolling in face-to-face instruction (both while operating remotely Sept. 8-18 and once in-person instruction resumes on Sept. 21)** and the options available under the UpNorth Virtual Live and On Demand programs. 

We also wanted to share that the deadline to indicate your interest in enrolling in the UpNorth Virtual Live program has been extended. Families interested in the program are asked to fill out this Google Formsform by 11:59 p.m. on August 26th. (Please note: this form does not constitute enrollment into the UpNorth Virtual Live program, but is intended to inform the district if sufficient interest in the program exists. A minimum of 25 students per course is required in order for a course to be offered. Should there be sufficient interest, families will be notified of any additional registration requirements.) Families who may have questions in addition to those answered in the Google SlideTCAPS Safe Start Plan or Google DocUpNorth Virtual FAQs about the UpNorth Virtual offerings are invited to attend a virtual parent information session, which will be held on Tuesday, August 25th from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Please submit questions for the session using this Google Formsform. Questions may be submitted up until 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 25th.

Families can participate via Google Meet using the information below. 

TCAPS UpNorth Virtual Family Information Session

  • What: Opportunity to ask questions related to the UpNorth Virtual Live and On Demand programs.
  • When: Tuesday, August 25, 2020, 5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. 
  • How to Participate: Join with Google Meet, or join by phone +1 585-491-9525 (PIN: 830136494)
  • How to Submit Questions: Submit questions at: Google Forms by 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 25th. Any questions submitted after the deadline or that are not able to be answered during the session, will be added to the UpNorth Virtual Frequently Asked Questions document found online at

** Mode of instruction (face-to-face, hybrid, or remote) determined based on current health recommendations, state reopening phases, and other health and safety information. The Traverse City region is currently in Phase 5.


Dr. John VanWagoner
Superintendent, Traverse City Area Public Schools

Aug. 10: COVID-19 Preparedness & Response Plan & TCAPS Safe Start Plan

COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan and the TCAPS Safe Start Plan

On August 10, 2020, the Board of Education approved the district’s state-required COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan and the TCAPS Safe Start Plan. Under the TCAPS Safe Start Plan, the school year will begin virtually on September 8th and continue online for the first two weeks of school, with face-to-face instruction planned to begin on September 21st. You can PDF Documentview the presentation shared at the August 10th Board meeting on the district’s website, which includes the COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan and results from the staff and parent return to school surveys. The Board will hear an update regarding school reopening plans and COVID-19 trends at its meeting on September 14th.

Students will begin the first two weeks of the school year with remote instruction where they will get to know their teachers and classroom procedures, practice using online learning tools, and begin learning course content. The virtual start will help prepare students, families, and staff in the event that a classroom, school or the entire district is required to move to a fully virtual format at some point during the school year. Staff will also have the opportunity for on-the-job training on new cleaning protocols and building procedures as well as have the opportunity to receive further training on Brightspace, the district’s new online teaching and learning platform for all classrooms.

With the two-week online TCAPS Safe Start Plan now in place, we will be sharing additional information with families in the coming weeks, including how to access technology and what to expect during the first two weeks of school. We will also be working closely with union leadership to clarify employee expectations and to outline the blend of work and training opportunities available for staff during the first two weeks of school. Specific information related to each labor group will be shared with staff as it becomes available.

We know how important the reopening of our schools is to our community, which is why it is critical that we do everything in our power to get it right. By taking a measured approach to beginning the 2020-2021 school year, we will be better prepared to start school safely and the extra time will give us the ability to see how school reopening proceeds in other districts in the state and to adjust our plan should it be necessary. Thank you for your continued support and understanding as we work through our COVID-19 response together.


Dr. John VanWagoner
Superintendent, Traverse City Area Public Schools