Reed City updates parents on school reopening plan
Will be shared in early August
REED CITY -- Reed City school board members and administrators, on Monday, updated its students and parents on progress made in the school district's fall reopening plan.
As part of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's Return to School Roadmap, schools in Michigan must create plans for each of the state's reopening phases.
"Everything is fluid, so we have to be prepared for different pieces," Superintendent Michael Sweet said.
Of the various requirements in Whitmer's roadmap that must be met by Michigan school districts, Sweet said some aspects have been figured out while others need more planning.
In Phase 4 of reopening in the Grand Rapids region, Sweet said the district is currently focused on what a return in this phase will look like.
"Phase 4 is the biggest component," he said. "It's where students are allowed to be in buildings, so we have to plan for how we're going to transport students, how we're going to set up classrooms to be in compliance with the requirements that are in the roadmap to return to school."
While no plans have officially been approved, Sweet said the district is tentatively planning on five full in-person instructional days a week. However, the district is also working on a hybrid or virtual option for those who may want it.
"The tenure among the MOISD superintendents right now is to plan for five full days of instruction," Sweet said.
While planning to have students primarily in-person, Sweet said school administrators were still discussing how to keep students safe within school buildings.
One way he noted would be to keep student groups together as much as possible in order to best track any potential outbreaks of COVID-19.
The school district also will be meeting many of the non-required recommendations suggested in Whitmer's roadmap to ensure students and staff are safe while in school buildings.
"Our tentative plan is to follow all of the strongly recommended and most of the recommended," Sweet said.
Some of the strongly recommended items in Phase 4 include spacing out students' desks, posting signs to indicate 6 feet of distance, educating students and staff on the correct way to sneeze or cough and more.
However, Sweet said there are some more challenging aspects to discuss before a full return plan can be set.
One of these is making sure to prevent the spread of illness while also transporting students to and from school safely.
"That's going to be a struggle for us," Sweet said, noting that masks as well as the use of hand sanitizer will be required for students riding the bus.
Additionally, Sweet said administrators are continuing to figure out ways to create an effective virtual curriculum for those who do not want to send their children back to school in the fall.
Regardless of which students choose to return in person or who would like to pursue a virtual option, Sweet said the district is working on ways to create virtual programming that will be easy to transition to in the case of another school closure.
"We're going to have to be prepared to move on a dime," he said.
While more planning is yet to be done, schools must have completed plans submitted to the state no later than Aug. 15, or seven days prior to the start of the school year.
"My goal would be to have the plan completed in early August," Sweet said.