By ZEINAB NAJM
HEIGHTS — The Crestwood School District and Dearborn Heights District No. 7 approved their school reopening plans for the upcoming academic year.
At their Aug. 10 virtual board meeting, Crestwood unanimously voted to return to school fully online and re-evaluate its options at each trimester.
“Thank you for your support, your guidance, but more importantly your trust,” Crestwood Supt. Youssef Mosallam said. “I just want to say this to the community, we have to do this together, we’re going to be one team. I know it’s not going to be perfect, but I assure you we’re going to be striving for greatness and we got to work together. We will have hands on the pulse of this.”
D7 Aug. 5 approved the administration’s three-tiered fall 2020 re-entry plan based on the requirements and recommendations as specified by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Safe Start Roadmap.
Both districts met the state’s Aug. 17 approval deadline on their reopening plan decisions.
Crestwood’s plans were developed by a task force of over 50 members which included teachers, parents, secretaries, paraprofessionals, school administrators, and other community members. Task force meetings on June 23, June 30, and July 7 then finalized recommendations July 14 and shared them with board and community on July 27.
The other two options Crestwood explored were, full in-school instruction with adjustments for expanded safety and precautionary measures and interrupted schooling possibilities where the district may have to adjust the face-to-face instruction to meet the changing needs of the students and community due to COVID-19, a July letter from Mosallam said.
An Aug. 6 special board meeting provided further details which included that Crestwood plans to use one platform, Google Apps for the school year and communications.
Mosallam said the district will be helping families navigate the platform.
Students at all grade levels will be required to attend school during their regular hours and all work will be graded on a traditional scale with no pass-fail scale.
About 60 percent of the community favored an online only school year, while 40 percent favored face-to-face instruction of the 1,600 responses.
Mosallam added that 650 families said they need Chromebooks and that the district has 2,000 on order. He also said that less than 3 percent of the community needs Internet access.
Crestwood also suggested a daytime support program for families that need child care assistance that would include adult supervision; students work on their online assignments; student groups will be 10 to 12 per room based on logistics; rooms will be throughout the district; no transportation; there may be a small fee; parents will have to verify employment; and very strict protocols.
To view Crestwood’s plans in detail go to, www.csdm.k12.mi.us.
D7 decided to have both remote online learning and face-to-face instruction options for students. Parents were asked to decide if their children would prefer face-to-face instruction five days per week or all online instruction.
Supt. Jennifer Mast gave a school re-entry presentation to the board of education July 22.
During an Aug. 5 board meeting, Mast provided an update saying that survey results came in with 45 percent of the community wanting face-to-face instruction and 55 wanting online instruction.
A survey was also sent to teachers, with 100 responding, and of those, 73 percent want to teach in-person and 27 percent in favor of online teaching.
“The changes are coming forward this week that are different from what you saw last week,” Mast said. “We will now be requiring masks K-12 and all staff as opposed to the face shields; students possibly cleaning was taken out of the former plans and that cleaning will be done by staff; temperature checks are implemented in the plan for all students and staff for entering the buildings each day; and all classroom sizes will be minimized to follow the six-foot social distance rule when possible.”
For elementary school, the district will use SeeSaw as the main communication platform, Google Classroom for middle school, and Google Classroom and Edgenuity in the high school.
Under the online plan, instructional videos and lessons will be provided daily; virtual meetings will be scheduled daily; staff will hold office hours for communication, planning and progress monitoring; student attendance will be based on participation in virtual meetings, watching video lessons, completing or submitting assessments and community with staff.
For face-to-face instruction, class sizes will also be smaller; hallways will have designated directors for movement; staggered dismissals may be incorporated to reduce hallway congestion; and signage will be posted with reminders.
Face coverings will be required for all staff and students grades 6 to 12. Face coverings are required only for K-5 students when moving through the building or mixing with other classes.
The district has its school re-entry slideshow on its website, www.district7.net.
Annapolis High School senior Maisie Fujita began a face mask collection drive with a goal of 1,000 for students and families in need within the district.
The drive began July 31 and as of Aug. 12 she had surpassed the goal set collecting 1,404 masks. City Councilman Bill Bazzi donated 500 disposable masks.
Fujita also received cash donations from community members to help create or purchase masks. She is providing updates on a Facebook page, District 7 Family Mask Drive.
As required by Whitmer’s Return to School Roadmap unveiled June 30, all districts must send their approved plan to Wayne County RESA and then to the Michigan Department of Education. Reopening plans can change depending the COVID-19 pandemic or because of the new executive orders issued by Whitmer.
Phases 1, 2, or 3, will require districts to implement full online instruction as ordered by Whitmer. If the state is in phases 4, 5 or 6, school districts is allowed to implement in-person instruction but would still need to follow government requirements and recommendations.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])