Large virtual enrollment pushes first day
of classes from August 24 to August 31
IMLAY CITY — Imlay City students get to enjoy one more week of summer vacation. At an emergency meeting, held August 12, the school board gave the okay to move the first day of classes from August 24 to August 31.
District leaders said the change was necessitated by the larger-than- anticipated interest in their Virtual Learning Academy. Approximately 450 of Imlay City’s 2,200 student body—or 20 percent—wants to learn from home instead of attending in-person this fall. Supt. Dr. Stu Cameron said they anticipated that number would be closer to 200.
As a result, school staff needs additional time to prepare equipment, namely Chromebooks, for students to use. Cameron said that administrators will also need time to meet to discuss potentially deploying some teachers into new roles for the 2020-2021 school year.
“We want to keep all of our students on the same schedule,” President Sharon Muir said during the virtual meeting.
“This is a daunting task even for August 31.”
Cameron said the district has had issues securing laptops due to high demand. More than 1,000 Chromebooks are on order but won’t arrive in time for the start of the school year. The district managed to find a new vendor who was able to ship 500 of the laptops just this week and they anticipate receiving them in the coming days.
“If we can start strong a week later instead of having so much unfinished business, I think that would be beneficial,” board member Kaylee Kaeding said.
Per a revised school calendar, the last day of classes for the 20-21 school year will be June 16, 2021.
Before the board took action, they spent more than 20 minutes fielding comments from the public, who were under the impression the district was considering a longer postponement of the school year. Some schools in the region, like Davison and Yale, have opted to push their start dates from August into September.
Last month the school board approved their Return to School preparedness and response plan. Imlay City Schools, like others, will utilize the Edgenuity online platform for instruction with Imlay City Schools staff monitoring student’s progress. 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 remote at some point in the school year.
In June, the board authorized spending more than $244,000 in 2019 bond funds to purchase 1,060 Chromebooks which, combined with the district’s existing technology, will allow every student, K-12, to have access to a computer.