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Hopkins Public Schools shares back-to-school plan

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Posted at 2:27 PM, Jul 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-21 14:39:20-04

HOPKINS, Mich. — Hopkins Public Schools has outlined its plan for students "returning safely to school this fall."

The plan is laid out today in an email message to families by Superintendent Gary Wood.

It features two learning options — in-person learning or remote learning — and every Wednesday will be a remote learning day for all students, at least for the first trimester. It also describes the many mask guidelines for students.

The plan was created over the past five weeks by the district’s Return to School Steering Committee and approved by the district's Board of Education. The 40-member committee consists of teachers, administrators, board members, parents and students.

The plan is based on data from parent, student and teacher surveys, as well as guidance from health agencies and the state's "MI Safe Schools Roadmap."

Superintendent Wood stresses that the plan "may need to be refined due to ever-changing guidelines from the state and local health agencies or adjustments needed based on fall enrollment decisions."

Wood adds that the district recognizes "flaws in the way remote instruction was done in the spring, and we are confident that the preparations made will make things work more effectively in the fall."

He then outlines numerous "key points" in the plan:

There will be two available learning options to choose from — remote learning or face-to-face (in-person) learning. Curricular content and grading will be the same for each model. If you choose the remote learning option, your child will need to remain in that option for the entire trimester. Below is a summary of the two options available you will choose from.

  1. HPS Remote Instruction Characteristics
    1. Reliable Internet access is needed for students/families that select this model. Those students/families without reliable Internet are urged to attend face-to-face instruction or email support@hpsvikings.org to see if a solution can be found using an HPS Internet HotSpot.
    2. All classes are taught by local Hopkins teaching staff (not strangers) and daily contact is made via Google Classroom to ensure students are staying active and parents are staying informed. An open line of communication through our school buildings and staff will be used.
    3. A Google Classroom “Parent Portal” feature will be added this year to this remote instruction model, which was not present this last spring. Parent training will be provided. Daily or weekly parent reports are an option.
    4. A strong independent student work ethic is needed for this remote instruction model to be successful. A high level of parent engagement is also critical for student success — especially at the early age levels.
    5. Students will be learning the same content and lessons at relatively the same pace that is being taught that day/week as our in-person learners at HPS. Teachers are provided with dedicated time (office hours) daily to help answer questions and respond to remote learners in a timely fashion.
    6. Students would be able to utilize any available Hopkins district sports or extracurricular programs throughout the year that may be offered if desired.
  2. HPS In-Person Instruction Characteristics
    1. A combination of masks and social distancing will be used by all students and staff at HPS. Please see the Hopkins “Mask Wearing and General Mitigation Practices” section at the end of this document for specific guidelines that will be implemented this year while at least in Phase 4.
    2. Hopkins teaching staff will be utilizing a Google Classroom platform within the daily classroom structure at all levels to help all students prepare for remote learning if the need arises and schools must transition to full remote instruction (Phase 3 or below in the Michigan Safe Start Plan).
    3. Each Wednesday, for at least the first trimester, will be a remote learning day for all students. All students will be learning from home on Wednesdays. This will allow our teaching staff to make necessary adjustments to this new instructional delivery method.
    4. Students will be learning the same content and lessons at relatively the same pace that is being taught that day/week as our remote learners at HPS. Teachers are provided with dedicated time (office hours) daily to help answer questions and respond to Remote Learners in a timely fashion.
    5. Students would be able to utilize any available Hopkins district sports or extracurricular programs throughout the year that may be offered if desired.
    6. If a student was to fall ill or needed to quarantine during a trimester, but was still able to participate in daily learning, that student could temporarily transition to the remote instructional model until they recovered.

At this time, further details of each instructional model listed above are still being worked out and a full and more detailed Hopkins District Plan will be released by August 15 to all parents and the community. To properly formulate a well thought-out plan for reopening, we need to know all student selections prior to August 3, 2020.

Additionally, if the remote option does not meet your specific needs, our district is also associated with the newly formed Virtual Academy of Allegan County (VAAC) online school. More information regarding this option will be available soon.

If the number of students selecting the remote instruction model does not allow for a significant reduction in class sizes to create optimal social distancing for in-person instruction, we will likely need to make modifications to this plan.

The letter also breaks down various mask guidelines:

Mask Wearing and General Mitigation Practices:

Mitigation practices, reduced amounts of commingling of students, and consistent social distancing policy will be promoted throughout the district. Increased frequency and enhanced cleaning procedures will be implemented this year. Hopkins Public Schools will follow CDC guidelines and will adhere to all State of Michigan Guidance Plans/Laws/Executive Orders.

State of Michigan Phase 4 Facial Coverings Requirements (Summarized):

a. Facial coverings must be worn by PreK-12 students, staff, and bus drivers during school transportation. Facial coverings must always be worn in hallways and common areas by PreK-12 students in the building except for during meals..

b. All students in grades K-5 must wear facial coverings unless students remain with their classes throughout the school day and do not come into close contact with students in another class.

c. Any staff or student that is unable to medically tolerate a facial covering must not wear one. *Other alternatives may be sought out if applicable.

Mask Guidelines with K-5 students:

All students will stay within their classroom cohort during the school day. If social distancing (all students 6 ft. apart) ratios for each classroom can be achieved, masks will not be required inside the classroom at all times. If social distancing (all students 6 ft. apart) ratios cannot be achieved, masks will be required inside the classroom at all times. There will be times where masks will need to be worn during classroom times (example: close group work). Mask breaks will be built in to the school day for all students. *Students will not be expected to wear masks for six continuous hours.

Mask Guidelines with 6-12 students:

Masks must be worn in classrooms by all students grades 6th-12th (except during outdoor activities, meal times, or designated breaks as long a social distancing is in effect). Mask breaks will be built in to the school day for all students. *Students will not be expected to wear masks for six continuous hours."