Imlay City board formalizes ‘return to
learn’ protocols for new school year

IMLAY CITY — At their July 27 meeting, the Imlay City School Board unanimously approved the district’s Return to School preparedness and response plan for the 2020-2021 school year.

Supt. Dr. Stu Cameron called the plan a “living document” that strives to enact protocols that are optimally safe and feasible to execute. He said the district consulted with their attorneys, the Lapeer County Health Department, the Lapeer County Intermediate School District and others to create their plan. Administrators rolled out the full plan for parents and community members at an online forum held July 29.

District leaders are making plans for the first day of classes on August 24. The deadline to register for Imlay City’s virtual learning academy was Monday.

Besides those details previously revealed–such as their face mask policy and in-person or virtual learning options–the plan outlines what new cleaning and sanitizing protocols will be in place and how the school day will look different to limit group sizes and interactions.

Cameron said they’ll be upping their custodial hours to ensure that all frequently touched surfaces are cleaned every fours hours. Fogging machines have been purchased for every building and they’ll use those after hours to sanitize larger areas at a time. At the elementary level students will have scheduled handwashing breaks at various points throughout the school day. Water fountains won’t be accessible so students will be encouraged to bring water bottles from home. Visitors will not be allowed in the buildings and that means student drop off and pick up will take place outside the school building. Additionally, the district has opted to host virtual ‘Open House’ events that means building tours and ‘meet the teacher’ opportunities will happen completely online before the first day of school on August 24.

The only extra-curricular activities allowed will be athletics but once the situation improves and the region can move into a new “recovery phase” the district will have the ability to allow other clubs and groups to begin meeting on a “case by case basis,” Cameron said.

In the meantime, student athletes will have their temperatures taken and must submit to hand hygiene requirements. No indoor spectators will be allowed and there’s a limit on the number people that can be present for outdoor contests.

As for instruction, Monday, August 10, was the deadline for students to register for Imlay City Schools Virtual Academy Program. The district, like many others, will utilize the Edgenity online platform for instruction and with Imlay City Schools staff monitoring a student’s progress.

“Our goal is to keep students at the center of educational activities that prioritize student connection and family access to information,” the district stated in their plan submitted to the state.

Those students opting for in-person learning will also use the online platform during their school day “as appropriate” so as to give them some exposure to the program in the event that all learning is required to go online if conditions worsen.

In the event that a positive COVID-19 case is identified within the school, Cameron said an emphasis will be put on contact tracing—something health department staff will assist with—not necessarily classroom-wide testing.

Earlier this week, the the district took steps to bring children back in to their facilities and reopened its childcare program at Weston Elementary to a limited number of families.