Last week the Return to School Roadmap was released by the Governor’s office. It lays out the requirements for opening our buildings to students in the 2020-21 school year. The main requirement of the Roadmap is for all schools to create their own reopening plan. The WLPS plan is due to the state in August and has many components from hygiene protocols, busing, athletics, screening, and tracing, to name a few. However, most parent concerns that have been brought to my attention involve face-covering requirements.
The Return to School Roadmap allows for in-person instruction in Phases 4, 5, 6. Requirements of staff and students vary depending on the phase. Currently, WLPS is in a region of the state considered to be in Phase 4. Phase 4 has the most restrictions and will require the use of face coverings for students, for instance:
- Students in grades 6-12 would have to wear facemasks on buses and in school.
- PreK-5 students would have to wear facemasks on buses and in hallways.
- Any student who cannot medically tolerate a facial covering can remove it.
It is important to understand that Michigan, as a whole, was progressing toward Phase 5. Phase 5 doesn’t require face coverings. I expect WLPS will be in Phase 5 by the start of the school year, but we are developing plans to educate our students in all phases.
We have three basic scenarios:
- In-Person Instruction in Phase 4, 5, 6
- All buildings open.
- Varying requirements for face covering, social distancing, and hygiene.
- Remote Instruction in Phase 1, 2, 3
- All buildings closed.
- A rigorous virtual learning plan will be made available to all students.
- Hybrid Model in any phase
- The medical needs of a student may dictate the use of virtual/remote learning.
- Synchronous (follow class in real time) and asynchronous remote learning at any point during the course of the school year.
My team will be working on developing a comprehensive plan which addresses all the requirements of the Governor’s Return to School Roadmap. That document will be made available to the public. Additionally, I will be hosting Q and A sessions in the coming weeks to address any questions or concerns.
I remain optimistic that WLPS will be holding school in person this year and am committed to doing so in a safe environment.