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Forest Hills middle and high schools switch to hybrid learning model

Forest Hills Central Middle School
Posted at 5:12 PM, Nov 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-05 17:12:49-05

FOREST HILLS, Mich. — All Forest Hills middle and high schools will switch to a hybrid model starting Monday through Thanksgiving.

The decision was made in conjunction with the Kent County Health Department and is because of the increase in COVID-19 cases across the state, according to a letter the district sent to families.

“The KCHD continues to see data that shows our schools are safe places for students and staff and that there is a low risk of virus transmission within our schools,” the letter said. “However, as the virus spreads more widely and rapidly across all communities, it is reasonable to predict more people will come into contact with it as they move throughout the community.”

The hybrid model is meant to “drastically reduce” the chance of students coming into close contact with positive cases and being required to quarantine for 14 days.

Elementary schools will not see a change in operations.

District officials will continue monitoring the situation at all 18 schools and warn that families should be prepared to switch to fully-remote learning if it becomes necessary.

Read the full letter:

November 5, 2020
Dear Forest Hills Families,

Given the increase in spread of COVID-19 across all regions of the state, beginning Monday, November 9, all of our middle schools and high schools will move back to the hybrid model through Thanksgiving for students in the in-person option. This decision was made in conjunction with the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) and it is designed to reduce the population density inside our middle and high school buildings.

The KCHD continues to see data that shows our schools are safe places for students and staff and that there is low risk of virus transmission within our schools. However, as the virus spreads more widely and rapidly across all communities, it is reasonable to predict that more people will come into contact with it as they move throughout the community. The hybrid model will drastically reduce the likelihood of other students becoming close contacts and being required to quarantine for up to 14 days. The KCHD is not currently recommending any changes to our elementary school operations. We will continue to use all of our mitigation strategies and monitor all 18 school buildings on a daily basis. Everyone needs to be prepared for the possibility of temporary shifts to full remote learning for a specific building or, at the elementary level, a specific classroom based upon given data and conditions.

The highest risk activities continue to be our movement in the general community, social gatherings, and instances where we are not following mitigation measures (e.g., wearing a mask, social distancing, hand washing, isolating when not feeling well). The increase in cases in Kent County is dramatic and continuing. We all must do our part to minimize our individual risks and flatten the current trajectory of cases.

Principals of our middle and high schools will provide families with specific scheduling details and student expectations for the hybrid model.

Thank you for your continued support and collaboration as we all navigate this crisis as a community.

With deep appreciation,

Dan Behm

Superintendent