August 6, 2020
Dear Parent and Guardian,
Thank you for your patience as we have worked through the summer to plan for a successful and safe return to school. Over the summer, many BCPS staff members have worked diligently using the Return to School Roadmap put out by the State of Michigan. In partnership with Building Level Guiding Coalition teams, District-Wide Coalition Teams, our Administrative Team, the Byron Center Education Association, the Kent County Health Department, and numerous experts in the education and health fields, we have created a Byron Center Return to Learn Plan which supports the tremendous work that everyone has invested. On Wednesday evening, the Board of Education approved the plan and supported the work completed by so many.
The video (linked here) gives a short overview of what the fall will look like for Byron Center Public Schools. Also linked here is the BCPS Return to Learn Plan that goes into full detail on programs offered, school safety, and all areas related to a successful 2020-2021 school year. Extensive thought and consideration in partnership with all stakeholders went into our plan. By following these Board of Education approved plans, BCPS is able to create a safe environment for the start of school and offer online programming for students who desire a virtual learning platform. The areas highlighted below take into account all 6 phases for the State of Michigan and the outline for returning to school.
In-Person Learning for All BCPS Students: Phases 4-6
Using input from the community, parents, teachers, and staff, many of our stakeholders want to return to in-person learning. Over 88% of parents want to return to in-person instruction. The Guiding Coalition teams have thoroughly studied how to do this both from a safety and an educational perspective.
BCPS will begin the 2020-2021 school year with a DK-12 hybrid start bringing our students back at half the building capacity for the first four weeks of school. The hybrid start uses an alternating schedule with two groups of students district wide. BCPS will be able to safely have students return to school and also meet student academic needs. The hybrid start allows for all safety measures to be evaluated as we begin the year and to have students understand the remote learning platforms.
This modified schedule is planned with the hope that we will be back to full in-person conventional instruction on Monday, September 28. During the first four weeks of school (17 school days), we will monitor safety and educational platforms and make adjustments as needed. BCPS crafted this short-term schedule to promote long-term successful reentry for all students and staff.
Students will begin school on August 31, 2020; they will be clustered into two groups to allow for social distancing. Groups will be divided based on the student’s last name into Group A (A-L) & Group B (M-Z). Arrangements can be made for students with different last names living in the same household to be placed on the same schedule.
● Group A (A-L): Students will attend school in-person on Monday, Wednesday, and alternate Fridays and complete virtual learning at home on Tuesday, Thursday, and alternate Fridays.
● Group B (M-Z): Students will attend school in-person on Tuesday, Thursday, and alternate Fridays and complete virtual learning at home on Monday, Wednesday, and alternate Fridays. (No school September 3, 4, 7 -- Labor Day.)
Safety Measures for In-Person Learning: Phase 4
BCPS continues to work in tandem with the KCHD and CDC guidelines for safety procedures for returning to in-person instruction. BCPS must follow the required safety protocols and will implement the strongly recommended safety protocols from the Return to Learn Roadmap. A few areas to note for a successful return: (The BCPS MI Safe Schools Safety Protocols goes into more detail)
➔ Staff are required to wear a face mask (unless medically exempt).
➔ DK-12 students are required to wear a face mask (unless medically exempt). (Students
may bring their own mask, the district will provide a washable mask to each student, plus
have disposable masks if needed.)
➔ When and where possible, BCPS will conduct mask breaks for students (outside, recess, and when social distancing.)
➔ BCPS will strive to social distance students and staff staying 6 feet apart when possible. We understand that there are times during the day that this may not be possible; however, students and staff will be wearing masks.
➔ We are currently working with KCHD to use a universal health screener for students, including temperature checks.
➔ Rooms will have moveable plexiglass dividers to help with safety in group settings.
➔ Each room will have staff cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer.
➔ BCPS has ordered additional Clorox 360 Machines for deep cleaning.
➔ When entering and exiting the bus, all students must use hand sanitizer and wear a mask at all times. Drivers will clean each bus between each route.
➔ We will be working directly with the Kent County Health Department when there is a possible virus exposure or illness. The health department will guide BCPS in possible quarantine or contact tracing.
BC Virtual On-Line Programming: Phases 1-6
BC Virtual is an entirely online program. BC staff will instruct BC Virtual students who are not yet comfortable returning to school. BC staff will promote continuity of instruction and the understanding of our BC expectations and curriculum. BCPS will use multiple programs and applications to support a successful online experience for these students. BC Virtual is a semester-long commitment; students may return to in-person learning at the end of the first semester. For more information, please refer to the BCPS Return to Learn Plan or reach out to your building principal.
Virtual Informational Meetings
To aid you in your choice of in-person or a virtual return to school this fall, principals will provide more details. Linked here is the BCPS Return To Learn Infographic of options for the 2020-2021 school year. Principals will be sending out the informational meeting links for each school (these are virtual meetings, not at school). Listed below are the important dates to mark on your calendar:
- West Middle School: 8/10 - 6:00p.m.
- BC High School: 8/10 - 7:00p.m.
- Nickels Intermediate School: 8/11 - 6:00p.m.
- Countryside Elementary: 8/11 - 7:00p.m.
- Brown Elementary: 8/11 - 7:00p.m.
- Marshall Elementary: 8/11 - 7:00p.m.
After reviewing this information, we ask you to commit to either:
★ In-Person Learning or
★ BC Virtual
for your child to begin the 2020-2021 school year. Please use BCPS Return to Learn Survey. Please complete the survey by August 10 or subsequent to an informational meeting. If you do not complete the survey, your student(s) will automatically be enrolled in In-Person Learning. This information will facilitate BCPS staff planning.
In closing, these are uncertain times. Please understand there are frequent changes to these circumstances. We will keep you up-to-date as significant changes occur. Thank you for your understanding and
partnership as we work together to meet the challenges and opportunities for the safe return of students back to school.
Kevin Macina, Ph.D.
Byron Center Public Schools