No issues with the start of Extended Learning Year program at the Grayling Elementary School
Tue, 08/18/2020 - 12:44pm caleb
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
The Extended Learning Year program at the Grayling Elementary School got its first week into the new school year with tweaking of schedules, cleaning, and cooperating students and parents.
The first day for the Extended Learning Year at the school was held on Tuesday, August 11.
Crawford AuSable School District Superintendent Justin Gluesing said it was like any other typical first day of school with students coming back into the building along with the introduction of kindergartners, but with added protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Parents were very cooperative and the kids were great,” he said. “They were all wearing masks as they came in, which is the new protocol.”
Some extra staff was on hand to prevent students from commingling in the hallways, while other students got adjusted to the new normal by going right to their classrooms.
“I saw some students who said I know where to go and just ran into the school,” Gluesing said.
Changes have also been made at the end of the school to prevent the bunching of students together at the school.
“We’re trying to do some things to stagger the dismissal a little bit, so we’re not really releasing all of the students out into the hallways at once,” Gluesing said.
Staff at the school are debriefing after school gets out to determine how they keep themselves and students safe. That knowledge and those protocols will be carried over to the Grayling Middle School and the Grayling High School as the traditional school year begins on Tuesday, September 1.
“Even as we begin, we’re still refining our procedures to be the safest as we can be,” Gluesing said.
Classes are being held in the normal areas in the school with furniture moved or removed so seating arrangements are spread out to the extent that is possible.
Plenty of cleaning supplies, paper towels, and wipes are on hand in the classrooms for staff to use. The three custodians are also helping with periodic cleaning.
“Cleaning is going to be part of everyone’s job this year,” Gluesing said.
The two gyms at the school are being used in conjunction with the regular lunch room to keep students spread out at lunch time.
That has created some scheduling challenges with finding time for students to take part in gym classes.
“It seems easy, but it’s not,” Gluesing said. “We have to move some things around and make those adjustments.”
Between five to six percent of the student population has requested full on-line learning for the 2020-21 school year. Those students are being accommodated by the school district’s Great Lakes Online Education program.
State lawmakers are expected to finalize regulations on school operations and funding to address the COVID-19 pandemic this week.
Gluesing said those changes will require more reporting to the state and waive some of the per-pupil counting that will give school districts more flexibility.
Under normal circumstances, 75 percent of the students must be in school for the day to count as a day of required instruction. That will be more difficult to do this year if individual students or groups of students have to be quarantined.
Finally, Gluesing encouraged parents to review materials that are being sent home with their student to keep them safe.
“It’s very important to be reviewing those as families and doing the self-checks that we talk about,” Gluesing said. “It’s important for parents to not send their children to school if they are feeling sick. That’s where we all have a responsibility to try and keep face-to-face with one another and keep school moving forward the best we can with everybody chipping in and being part of that solution.”