Centreville Back to School plan unveiled

CENTREVILLE — Centreville Public Schools released their Back to School Plan at a special meeting of the CPS Board of Education Monday.

The plan, presented to the board by Superintendent Stephanie Lemmer, goes over how school operations will work in different areas depending on what phase the Kalamazoo region is in under the MI Safe Start Plan.

In Phases 1-3, Lemmer said the district would be providing two options for instruction to families: A fully-virtual option called the Centreville Online Learning Academy for Phases 1-6 with a semester commitment, or a hybrid option that includes only learning from home in Phases 1-3. For those that opt for the hybrid option, teachers will provide instruction through Google Classroom, with a structured time for students to log in to receive “synchronous instruction,” which means their teacher will deliver instruction live in real time.

Later in the meeting, Lemmer said as of Monday, 181 students in the district have opted for the fully-virtual option.

For those that could potentially have issues logging in on time, Lemmer said teachers would be trained how to record the synchronous instruction for those who need to access it during different hours.

Students at Centreville Elementary School would be required to be logged in every day from 9 a.m. to noon, during which they will receive their core subject instruction, as well as special instruction, such as physical education, music or art. From 1 to 3 p.m., elementary teachers will deliver individualized instruction.

“Some students out of each class may be asked to log in on particular days, depending on what their instructional needs are to get the small group or individualized instruction,” Lemmer said.

At the Junior and Senior High School level in Phases 1-3, Lemmer said there would be a schedule of when students need to log in for synchronous instruction, which they would be provided with before school starts. She said the schedule would “closely mimic a college schedule,” where students don’t need to log in every single day with every single teacher.

“For instance, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, you log in for synchronous instruction with first and second hour teacher, and on the other days, you’re logging in with your third and fourth hour,” Lemmer said.

For either option, Lemmer said all work will be graded and attendance will be taken regularly. For Career and Technical Education and Dual Enrollment programs in Phases 1-3, teachers will give juniors and seniors different protocols on how to receive instruction.

Technology-wise, Lemmer said the district has put more Wi-Fi access points on the exterior of their buildings, and there will be free internet available in the high school parking lot. In addition, they have also purchased 20 hot spots that work off cellular signals, regardless of provider.

“Our goal is in areas with no connectivity, we would be able to reserve those as an option for families to potentially use,” Lemmer said. “We will have to do that on a case-to-case basis.”

Lemmer said the district would not be able to provide instructional packets like they did in the spring, but if a student has a religious or cultural religion for not allowing internet usage or technology, they would utilize thumb drives and voice recorders to deliver instruction and communication.

In Phase 4, Lemmer said face coverings would be required on the bus. Students in grades K-5 would not be required to wear them in the classroom, but grades 6-12 will be. Disposable face coverings will be made available to students and staff on a regular basis if they do not have one already, and be placed on buses and in classrooms on a nightly basis. Those not required to wear face masks are those that have a medical exemption, which principals will handle.

Staff would wear face masks at all times except lunch time and what Lemmer called “mask breaks,” which she described as a safe way for students and staff to “take a break with their masks and catch some fresh air.”

“We understand the concern that people have regarding wearing [a mask] for the full duration of the day without having to take a break,” Lemmer said. “That will be something we’ll be defining more clearly and creating signage and posting so that can be done safely.”

K-5 students will receive face-to-face instruction all five days per week under the Phase 4 plan and be cohorted together, meaning they will remain in the classroom for breakfast and lunch, and have special teachers for art and music come to them. Gym class will be held outside, weather permitting, and a recess schedule would be utilized.

In grades 6-12, Lemmer said a hybrid schedule will be utilized, with students coming every other day. For sixth grade students, the district will provide the option for parents to send their students to school on days where they are not scheduled to receive instruction, but their student would be required to wear a mask throughout the day.

There will be two cohorts of students for grades 7-12, and they are required to work remotely and complete assignments in between the days they come in for face-to-face instruction. On those off days, Google Classroom would be utilized for instruction.

Students would be required to sanitize upon entry into the building and classrooms, with teachers provided with sanitizer and lesson plans for hand washing techniques. Building cleaning will be done by custodians at 7 a.m., 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Playground equipment will be cleaned twice a week.

Lemmer said per Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency recommendations, the district will not be screening students themselves as they come in, rather that responsibility will go to parents, saying they will be asked to sign off on screening their students before sending them to school. Trustee Jackie Bowen said later in the meeting she was concerned about the policy, saying some parents would not do the screening.

“We have parents that send kids to school that haven’t eaten in days or don’t have clothes to wear, and they’re sure as heck not going to screen if they have a temperature or they’re not feeling good, or whatever it might be,” Bowen said. “It’s just a concern that, unfortunately, it’s going to become our job at the school to do this for them.”

Lemmer said she shared Bowen’s concern, and said that prior to the BHSJ guidance, the district purchased touchless thermometers, which teachers would be provided with.

If students show symptoms of COVID-19, Lemmer said, quarantine areas have been identified in the schools, and parents would be asked to pick up their students as soon as possible.

Transportation-wise, Lemmer said the district would limit bus transportation to those that live outside of a one-mile radius of the district, which she said would allow students to effectively socially distance on the bus.

For Phase 5, Lemmer said they will have the same procedures as in Phase 4, but mentioned that social distancing may not be possible in classrooms in that phase.

The Back to School plan was approved unanimously by the board.

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 23 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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